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Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, Arlington, Va., wrote in a Wednesday research report that Symantec's decision to replace Salem with Bennett is "a major step in the right direction" after a series of missteps including acquisitions and execution issues.
Ives also called Salem's departure "the first step in a potential strategic change at the company," which could lead to Symantec's breakup or to its paying of dividends.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Wunderlich Securities analyst Brian Freed as saying that analysts had become disillusioned with Salem in part because of inconsistent execution.
"At this point in time, any change will be viewed as a positive," Freed was quoted as saying. "And in the case of Steve Bennett, it's a change with hope."
Allan Krans, a senior analyst at Technology Business Research (TBR), Hampton, N.H., wrote in a Wednesday research report that new leadership at Symantec will make it easier for the company to take advantage of cloud and mobile markets.
Krans said he expects the focus at Symantec under Bennett will be on transitioning its information management and security business to being successful in the cloud and mobility markets.
"What won't change for Symantec will be the company’s constant focus on partnerships and product releases that bridge the gap between traditionally deployed solutions to be more cloud- and mobile-ready," Krans wrote.
The CEO for a CRN Solution Provider 500 firm, who did not want to be identified, said Symantec's troubles began when the then-security powerhouse acquired Veritas.
"They lost their identity after that acquisition," the CEO said. "They couldn't digest that acquisition. It put the whole company into an uproar and it has never fully recovered from that."
Dan Serpico, president of FusionStorm, a San Francisco-based solution provider and longtime Symantec partner, said he knew Salem well and was surprised to see him go.
"Our business relationship has been a great one," Serpico said.
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