Symantec Internal Memo: Pace Of Change Was Too Slow


Former Symantec CEO Steve Bennett significantly impacted the company with internal changes and process improvements, but the company's board of directors thought the pace of change was far too slow to keep up with market conditions, according to an email written by newly appointed interim CEO Michael Brown.

In the internal memo obtained by CRN following the abrupt ouster of Bennett Thursday, Brown said he would take his temporary role to work closely with Symantec's leadership team and help drive the next phase of the company's transformation. Symantec, Mountain View, Calif., remains committed to creating 5 percent organic revenue growth and 30 percent operating margin targets by fiscal year 2017, Brown said. The time frame is a full three to four years since the company fired former CEO Enrique Salem. Symantec closes its fiscal year 2014 at the end of March.

Brown said Bennett led a series of successful initiatives that reorganized the company under his 4.0 strategy, unveiled last year. In a recent interview with CRN, Bennett said skeptics shouldn't count the company out. The transition disrupted 90 percent of the company's sales force, but he said the company was set to unveil future product improvements in the form of tightly integrated offerings later this year.

[Related: Expect 2014 To Be Another Transition Year For Symantec, Says CEO]

"However, the board feels we weren't moving fast enough towards our 5 percent organic revenue growth target. Revenue growth is what's critical in building our company value," Brown said in the memo. "This decision is about finding the right leader to grow Symantec -- reflecting the board's view that Symantec has a tremendous market opportunity before us and terrific talent. Our priority going forward is to leverage our assets and talent to drive the next stage of Symantec's product innovation and revenue growth." 

The CEO search process typically takes between six and nine months, experts tell CRN. Brown in the memo addressed the ongoing senior management changes that has plagued the company over the past six months.  In addition to its CFO, a longtime executive who led the company's product development and services strategy took his leave as well.

"I know that management changes can be distracting and we've had too many of them recently, but let's keep focused on delivering new products and supporting our customers," Brown said. "We have hired some great talent during the past 18 months which, combined with the team we already had in place, gives me confidence that we can accelerate our progress -- especially in building our go-to-market capability and brand, as well as investing in new product offerings."

NEXT: Read The Symantec Memo