BANGALORE - Security software vendor Symantec said Wednesday that Enrique Salem
, its president and chief executive officer, had stepped down right after the company reported that its revenue for the quarter ended June 29 grew 1 percent year-over-year to US$1.7 billion.
Symantec said its board of directors has appointed Steve Bennett, the current chairman of the board, to also hold the posts of president and chief executive officer.
Bennet emphasized in a conference call with financial analysts that he will not be filling in as an interim leader. "I am the CEO," he said. "And I told my wife that this might be a five year deal or may be a three year deal." He said he will not turn over the leadership of the company until he's comfortable with the direction it's headed. When Bennet steps down he plans to retain the post of chairman, he said.
The board's decision to make a leadership change was not based on any particular event or impropriety but was instead made after ongoing consideration and a deliberative process, said Dan Schulman, Symantec's newly-appointed lead director, in a statement. Bennett however said that in his view "Symantec's assets are strong and yet the company is underperforming against the opportunity."
"It certainly wasn’t something that was made quickly,” said Chris Paden, a spokesman for Symantec. “And it really wasn’t necessarily about financial performance,” he said, adding that the company views the latest figures as a “solid quarter.”
Paden said Symantec has seen the highest jump in their stock price in a decade, but at the same time, the company didn’t feel as though their true value was being reflected in the market. He listed three challenges the company is currently facing: a “very difficult foreign exchange headwind,” the rapid adoption of mobile devices and demand for software-as-a-service, which can be hard to keep up with, and a lethargic economy worldwide.
Paden says while Symantec is satisfied with its performance “across the board,” there’s always room for improvement.
“That’s one of the reasons that we changed CEOs," he said.
Bennett joined Symantec’s board in February 2010 after being CEO of financial software company Intuit. Before that he held senior management posts at General Electric. He became Symantec chairman in 2011.
Salem became CEO in April 2009.
Rob Enderle, a Silicon Valley-based IT industry analyst, the move was a little hard. Looking at the recent financials “you could put a CEO on notice, but it isn’t catastrophic.”