5 Companies That Had A Rough Week2:00 PM EST Fri. Jul. 26, 2013
Some unexpected CEO resignations -- one under a cloud of possible financial irregularities -- top this week's list of companies that had a rough week. Also making this week's roundup is a hacker break-in at a major vendor's developer website, the latest maneuvers in the ongoing Dell buyout saga, and a report that says the IT security industry may be losing the battle against malware.
Polycom President and CEO Andrew Miller resigned suddenly Tuesday after an audit committee for the company's board of directors found "irregularities" in the executive's expense reports. The company didn't disclose details about the discovered problems.
Polycom said Miller's expense report irregularities had no "material impact" on the company's current or previous financial statements. But that didn't prevent a drop in the value of Polycom shares Wednesday, which plummeted 15 percent to $9.49, wiping out $273 million in market capitalization.
Polycom wasn't the only IT vendor this week whose CEO unexpectedly stepped down. Juniper Networks revealed Tuesday that CEO Kevin Johnson planned to retire and a search for a new chief executive was already under way.
The surprise announcement, which Johnson described as a personal decision, came just prior to Juniper's second-quarter earnings call where the company reported 7 percent growth to $1.15 billion.
Johnson, Juniper's CEO since 2008, will stay in the post until his replacement is named. Johnson's departure comes on the heels of several other high-level executive departures from the company this year.
Apple confirmed this week that an intruder attempted to access sensitive data on the company's developer website – news that upset many of the company's ISV and developer partners.
Apple took the site down after the incident. While Apple said sensitive information on the site is encrypted, the company could not rule out the possibility that some developers' names, mailing addresses and email addresses had been accessed. Apple promised a total overhaul of the developer system, including updating its server software and rebuilding its developer database.
The Dell buyout vote planned for this week was postponed once again -- this time to Aug. 2 -- amid increasing unease among the vendor's channel partners.
The decision to postpone the vote came after CEO Michael Dell, who is trying to take the company private, increased his offer by 10 cents per share to $13.75 -- adding about $150 million to the leveraged buyout proposal. Dell also proposed changing the rules about how absentee shareholder votes are counted.
The Dell special committee overseeing the deal put off the vote to give shareholders time to consider the new offer. Michael Dell is battling activist investor Carl Icahn and his financial backers for control of the company.
Increasingly sophisticated malware is wreaking havoc on businesses and organizations, according to a report issued this week, forcing security professionals to reassess their security policies and consider boosting spending on modernizing their IT defenses.
The report from the Enterprise Strategy Group, commissioned by Malwarebytes, included a survey that found that 74 percent of security professionals had increased their security budgets over the past two years in response to more sophisticated malware threats.
But that's apparently not enough. The report concluded that many organizations still lack the staff and skills needed to address those malware threats. And the current generation of firewall and intrusion-prevention technology isn't getting the job done and is missing a greater amount of malware, the report said.