Symantec ousts CEO after disappointing performance

The cyber security company has fired its second CEO in two years after failing to deliver on its ambitious performance objectives

After less than two years ass CEO of Symantec, Steve Bennett's contract with the cyber security company has been terminated and he has officially resigned from the board of directors

The computer security company, best known for its Norton antivirus software, has fired its CEO less than a year into his tenure, as the firm struggles to offset unimpressive revenues and disappointing share performance.

The now former chief executive Steve Bennett was partway through an exhaustive overhaul of Symantec’s products and systems in an effort to compete with increasingly sophisticated cyber security threats and a new breed of security software company. Founded in 1982, Symantec is struggling to keep pace with some of the industry’s newer, more advanced players such as the much-publicised Mandiant.

“We recognise Steve’s contributions to Symantec, including developing and leading a series of successful initiatives focused on organisational realignment, cost reduction and process effectiveness,” said Symantec’s chairman Daniel Schulman in a company press release.

What’s more surprising is that Symantec’s lacklustre performance comes at a time where cyber security spending is on the rise

What’s more surprising is that Symantec’s lacklustre performance comes at a time where cyber security spending is on the rise. A recent report co-authored by IDC and the National University of Singapore estimates that enterprise cyber security spending will come to almost $500bn this year, due to mounting concerns with regards to the possibility of malware and data breaches.

In addition to the company’s largely outdated approach to tackling cyber threats, Symantec’s struggles have been aggravated further still by declining PC shipments and sales. IDC released a report earlier this month showing that the PC industry saw its sharpest annual decline on record through 2013, with shipments falling 9.8 percent and sales 10.1 percent. What’s more, the analysts expect sales to continue falling until 2018, by which time shipments are estimated to reach as little as 291.7 million units – as opposed to the 315.1 million in 2013.

Regardless of Symantec’s disappointing performance, the company maintains that it will continue to target revenue growth in excess of five percent organic revenue growth by 2017. “Our priority is now to identify a leader who can leverage our company’s assets and leadership team to drive the next stage of Symantec’s product innovation and growth,” said Schulman.

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