Symantec Restructures Executive Team

Altogether, the restructuring includes changed executive roles for at least half a dozen members of its executive team, as well as the reduction of its three U.S. regions -- East, West and Central -- to two regions.

Among the executive changes was the promotion of Bill Robbins, former head of sales for the Americas, to executive vice president of worldwide sales. Under Robbins is Rich Spring, senior vice president of Americas sales, who previously headed sales for the Central U.S. region.

In addition, Adrian Chamberlain, former CEO of MessageLabs, is now the senior vice president of Software-as-a-Service, following Symantec's acquisition of the messaging security company in October 2008.

The executive realignment effort was headed by Chief Operating Officer Enrique Salem, who is slated to take over as Symantec's CEO following John Thompson's scheduled retirement in April.

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Symantec executives declined requests for comment from

However, partners said that one of the biggest changes Symantec made was eliminating some of its specialist teams.

"They're cutting heads like everyone else," said Matt Scherocman, vice president of consulting services for Cincinnati-based PCMS IT Advisor Group. "Some of the reorganization fits the size of the new company to some degree."

But although Symantec continues to reduce its specialists, partners said they have not seen cuts to the midmarket or partner support teams, and have seen increased efforts to drive more business through the channel.

For example, Scherocman said that Symantec gave a large fulfillment company approval to sell Enterprise Vault licenses, but on the condition that the licenses went through certified partners for installation. In addition, partner deal registration is readily enforced with a "decent" margin attached -- about 7 percent, Scherocman said.

"I still make money on a product that I lose," Scherocman said. "When you can make money losing deals, I'm pretty excited about that."

Other partners contend that the reorganized executive lineup would make little difference to their business.

"With Symantec, they're so big you feel that you're this little dot of sand on the beach. We're just so far from the top end of that. I never see it at the ground level unless it's some huge change," said Steve Weeks, president and CEO of British Columbia-based Netcetera.

Weeks echoed Scherocman, saying he, too, had noticed small changes in the company's channel focus that lead him to believe there might be more emphasis placed on the channel. Weeks said he had begun to receive regular notifications from Symantec regarding customer renewals. And he had also received a call from a Symantec distributor reminding him to take his yet-unclaimed rebates.

"I've actually seen a bit better touch from them," he said. "Some of the stuff I've seen lately is more positive."

Weeks added, however that he last saw his Symantec inside rep six months ago and instead primarily relies on contact with distributors.

Other partners view the recent executive restructuring with skepticism following the past year that saw an official policy to offer largest customers direct deals, changes in channel leadership and retirement of its CEO.

"I'm going to hold my breath again. They've done so much, so fast, in that growth spurt, and I really didn't see the benefit of it in the end," said Darrel Bowman, CEO of Tacoma, Wash.-based "Now with John Thompson leaving, I will hold my breath and wait patiently. Just as long as they do no harm, I will be happy."