DeWalt Steps Down As McAfee President


After a four year stint at McAfee, Dave DeWalt is officially resigning from his position as president, the company said Tuesday.

Following his resignation, DeWalt will continue as a non-employee member of the McAfee Board of Directors, where he will oversee and counsel more than 6,500 security experts.

“I’ll be leaving McAfee in great hands,” said DeWalt in a statement. “We had strong results, a record quarter and a great pipeline of innovation. We have a very strong foundation for the second half of 2011 and I look forward to serving on McAfee’s Board of Directors.”

Meanwhile, McAfee is filling the void at the company’s helm with Mike DeCesare, executive vice president for global operations, and Todd Gebhart, executive vice president and general manager of consumer, mobile and small business, who will assume the roles of the company’s co-presidents by the third quarter. DeCesare and Gebhart will report to Renee James, Intel senior vice president and group general manager and chairman of McAfee subsidiary.

“With the formation of the office of the president, we have two proven executives with long histories of accomplishment and leadership at McAfee,” said James, in a statement.

“Intel continues to be very pleased with McAfee’s performance in terms of both sales and innovation since the acquisition was announced last year," James added. "I appreciate Dave’s many contributions to the company and look forward to continuing to work with him on the McAfee Board of Directors. We anticipate a smooth transition and I am confident that the incredibly talented people of McAfee will remain focused on the innovation, delivering products and services that help make connecting to the digital world safe and more secure.

DeCesare, who has been with McAfee since 2007, most recently headed the company’s global operations, which included manufacturing, facilities, travel and information technology as well as worldwide sales, channels, sales engineering, consulting and education services, while leading a team of more than 2,000 employees.

Gebhart, who joined McAfee in 1999, was responsible for developing and executing retail and direct Web sales strategy for the global expansion of the consumer, mobile and small business units.

McAfee, the world’s second biggest security company following Symantec, experienced some successes under DeWalt. Most notably, McAfee agreed to be acquired by Intel in August 2010 for a record $7.78 billion , a deal completed in February of this year, which helped drive the company to record fourth quarter and 2010 revenue .

However, that same year, McAfee suffered a major setback when it released a faulty DAT file in April 2010 that issued a massive false positive by recognizing Windows XP SP3 as malware and subsequently subjected millions of the company’s users to the “blue screen of death” followed by an endless reboot cycle.

Shortly following the incident, McAfee reported a 30 percent decline in Q1 profits , attributed, in part, to the fallout from the faulty DAT file, which included extensive cleanup and remediation efforts.

The company revisited a similar disaster a year later in April when it released buggy VirusScan DAT file 6329, which started returning false positives that affected SAP telephone connectivity functionality. The glitch affected a much smaller user base than the prior error, but prompted customers and partners to strongly question the company’s QA processes.