McAfee To Cut Staff, Boost Risk Management Focus

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In an 8-K filing last week, McAfee said the layoffs will mainly affect sales and marketing functions and are expected to help the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor save between $10 million and $12 million in annual operating expenses. The restructuring will be completed during the first quarter of 2007 and also will include the closure of certain offices, McAfee noted.

Although McAfee didn't mention it in the filing, at least four of the layoffs are from the vendor's channel marketing team, according to a McAfee partner who requested anonymity. McAfee in August laid off 20 members of its channel team in an effort to refocus its channel program toward the SMB market.

"These actions are designed to improve the effectiveness of our channel, sales and marketing organizations as the company continues to deliver on its security risk management strategy," a McAfee spokesperson wrote in an email to CRN.

The spokesperson did not respond to an email requesting the exact number of channel layoffs.

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Another McAfee partner who requested anonymity said the layoffs aren't out of character for the vendor. "I don't think we've ever been through a January where some major marketing change hasn't taken place," said the source.

McAfee has been steadily building its security risk management portfolio in recent months, and last October acquired Onigma, a data leak prevention startup, and Citadel, a vendor of software that helps companies meet regulatory compliance directives.

McAfee on Monday also began to deal with its stock options backdating problem by changing the measurement dates and strike prices for some of the stock options it granted to former and current executives.

These steps included raising the exercise prices of the unexercised portion of the stock options granted to former McAfee CEO George Samenuk and former President Kevin Weiss. Last October, Samenuk stepped down and Weiss was fired in connection with accounting discrepancies in stock options backdating.