VARs React To Departure Of McAfee CEO, President

Upon completing an internal review of the matter, McAfee fired Kevin Weiss, who had been with the company since 2002 and was appointed president this past March. In addition, George Samenuk, who took the CEO reins at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based security vendor in 2001, announced his retirement and acknowledged some responsibility for the issues.

"I regret that some of the stock option problems identified by the special committee occurred on my watch," Samenuk said in a statement.

Samenuk's emphasis on ethical sales practices had helped change McAfee's channel culture for the better, according to Steve Palange, president of TLIC Worldwide, a solution provider in Wakefield, R.I. "There used to be a lot of issues within the channel, but these disappeared after he took over," he said.

"McAfee salespeople have told me that every three months, they have to sign a legal document stating that they would never pay accept, promote or push side letters," Palange added. "That's one example of Samenuk supporting an infrastructure that positively affected the channel."

Sponsored post

Although the exit of Samenuk and Weiss may appease shareholders, the stock options issues could end up costing McAfee customers.

"A lot of VARs get scared when they see their vendor partners have financial issues," said Andrew Plato, president of Anitian Enterprise Security, a Beaverton, Ore.-based solution provider. "Our attitude is, we don't want to mess with people who have business problems because it has the potential to limit our customer base."

McAfee said board member and former Borland CEO Dale Fuller will take over as interim CEO and president, and board member Charles J. Robel will assume the role of non-executive chairman. The board has formed a committee that will consider internal and external candidates for a permanent CEO.

McAfee plans to restate some of its past financial results over a 10-year period to account for additional non-cash charges for stock-based compensation, which the vendor expects to $100 million to $150 million.

The executive departures follow that of general counsel Kent Roberts, who was fired in May over what McAfee described as an "improper" incident that took place in 2000.

McAfee shares closed Wednesday trading up 85 cents at $26.64.