Symantec Partners Seek Balanced CEO To Jump-Start Momentum

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Symantec channel partners say the vendor's chief executive should have a balanced skill set to oversee product integration while sharpening the vendor's remaining sales and support organization, which is still largely regaining its footing following a year of cutbacks and restructuring.

Symantec interim CEO Michael Brown has been at the helm of the beleaguered vendor since March while the board of directors conducts a search for new leadership since it ousted former CEO Steve Bennett.

Partners call the sales force overhaul undertaken by Bennett a good business move, despite the disruption it has caused. The retooled channel program, which relies on partners with strong product expertise has weeded out resellers that are underdelivering, they say. The transition has been long and far from smooth, but partners say it's now time for leadership that can deliver on Symantec product integration announced at the Symantec Vision user conference in May.

[Related: Symantec Slashing Products, Investing In Key Storage, Security Lines]

Symantec needs a CEO that will follow through on delivering on its integration strategy, said Paul Deur, a principal at New York-based Eden Technologies, a Symantec Platinum partner. Until now, leadership has either been solely focused on addressing internal operations or mainly building out the product portfolio, Deur said.

"There needs to be a balance; there's a need for a balanced CEO who can run a more efficient workforce and integrate this portfolio," Deur said. "If Symantec can pull together this broad portfolio, which addresses discrete elements of data management and security, it can be a tremendous differentiator in the market."

Eden Technologies has been a Symantec partner for about eight years. Deur and executives at other Symantec channel partners say they have seen a pattern of changes every two years or so in response to emerging technology trends, such as mobility and cloud adoption. 

It's resulted in a spate of acquisitions that expanded its portfolio of strong market leaders, but did little to integrate the technologies into a coherent platform, partners say.

In 2007, Symantec acquired Altiris and Vontu for IT management and data loss prevention; in 2010, the company bought PGP and VeriSign for encryption and authentication; and in 2012, two smaller deals added Nukona and Odyssey Software under the Symantec product umbrella for mobile device and mobile application management.

NEXT: Partners: Sales Overhaul Disruption Nearing End

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