Symantec Fires CEO Bennett In Middle Of Company Transition


Bennett's vision focused on creating a more integrated product portfolio but lacked specifics, said David Sockol, president and CEO of San Carlos, Calif.-based Emagined Security. Bennett focused on the transition rather than showing exactly where the company was truly going, Sockol said.

"They focused on how cool it was that the company was changing rather than what they were changing to," Sockol said. "Even the employees were having trouble with the vision; it all focused with the fact that it was changing."

Partners were growing increasingly frustrated that they haven't seen new products or more details about better integrated products, said Alex Moss, managing partner at Chicago-based consultancy Conventus, a Symantec partner. Products being introduced have long been on the road map and already anticipated, Moss said.

"Bennett moves very slowly, and that affected the partners as well as the customers," Moss said. "I think everybody was getting tired of waiting."

Jacob Tukuru, president of Tukuru Technologies, a Symantec partner based in New York, said there were some improvements, including internal streamlining, that made it easier for partners to do business with the company.

"It's a little surprising. I know from our perspective as a partner, things have improved over the last year," Tukuru said. "They made it easier to do business with them as a partner, and we use their cloud products, which are great. Before, it was very difficult to work with Symantec. They made it hard to get information about simple things like software licenses, and it was really hard to find the right technical support."

"This comes totally out of the blue. I'm shocked," said Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Symantec partner based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "From a partner perspective it's discouraging. We have just been hearing Symantec trumpet its turnaround plan, new products and how bright the future looked. Now, just as it feels like we are nearing the top of the Symantec mountain, Bennett is terminated? Now it feels like we are back to square one."

Goldstein said he was unaware of what led to Bennett's departure or what interim CEO Michael Brown might be able to do to lead the company. Brown's storage background, Goldstein said, is encouraging however. "The only silver lining is Brown might bring Symantec's storage products up to date. Symantec's Backup Exec is way behind the times. It doesn't even support Microsoft Server 2012," Goldstein said.  

CRN reporters Rob Wright and Tom Spring Contributed to this report. 

PUBLISHED MARCH 20, 2014