Industry Channel Vet Victim Of Symantec Layoffs


Symantec's first round of layoffs in 2013 may have impacted its channel operations, according to industry executives who say a respected channel veteran has left the company as a result of the staff cuts, CRN has learned.

Thomas Gillman, a public sector channel executive formerly at Crossbeam, Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems, has left the company, according to industry sources who say the cut was part of a restructuring of the company's sales organization. Symantec brought Gillman on in 2008 as the company's new senior director of public sector channels. CRN could not reach Gillman for comment.

When asked about Gillman's position, a Symantec spokesperson said the company would not provide information on specific employees, but the security firm was moving forward with a company-wide reorganization. The channel is an important part of Symantec's public sector strategy, the spokesperson said.

[Related: 10 Questions For Symantec CEO Steve Bennett]

"As a result, some positions are being eliminated," the spokesperson told CRN in an email. "One of the goals of Symantec’s reorganizational effort is to make the company’s employee reporting structure more efficient and support the company strategy moving forward."

Gillman was hired by Symantec following a restructuring at the time of Symantec's SLED and FED programs. He was director of channel sales at network security vendor Crossbeam Systems. Prior to that Gillman served as director of federal channels for Juniper.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has been shuffling its channel executives. Last year the company replaced outgoing channel chief Randy Cochran with direct sales veteran John Eldh, who served as vice president of sales for the company's cloud business unit and was a 7-year Symantec veteran.

In January, the company unveiled Symantec 4.0, a new strategy that CEO Steve Bennett said would include a massive product reorganization, layoffs and a new partner program with lower-cost sales models led by a new global sales and partner enablement organization.

In a July conference call with financial analysts, the company acknowledged that employees across the company received layoff notices in May and June. James Beer, chief financial officer and executive vice president, said the company was making significant changes to its sales organization.

The changes include redefining compensation incentives, realigning sales territories, headcount reductions, redesigning the coverage model, launching a new renewals team and converting the company's generalist sales force into a specialized sales team focused on new business, Beer said during the conference call.

At the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit in May, Bennett acknowledged his company's struggle to maintain its competitive edge against McAfee and other security firms because the company's portfolio, he said, has been too fragmented. He told attendees at the summit that road maps on Symantec's key products would be available in September.

Unlike McAfee, which recently acquired Stonesoft for next-generation firewall capabilities, Symantec would stay out of the network security appliance market, Bennett said. The company would focus on organic growth while it integrates its product portfolio into 10 areas, he said.

PUBLISHED AUGUST 7, 2013