Symantec CEO: Channel 'Key Part' Of Next Phase Of Company Turnaround

As Symantec looks to enter the second phase of its company turnaround and reinvigorate its enterprise security business, CEO Michael Brown said the channel will be a "key part" of that transformation.

Symantec has been on a turnaround journey since Brown assumed the CEO post 18 months ago. Now, with the upcoming split from storage business Veritas, the security vendor is entering the "next stage of transformation," he said. Symantec is expected to close on its sale of Veritas to private equity firm the Carlyle Group at the end of the year.

The priorities going forward, Brown said, include a realization of the company's Unified Security platform strategy, building out its enterprise security go-to-market and pipeline, improving cost structure and more efficiently allocating capital. The channel will prove crucial to many of those priorities, Brown said, especially around developing the enterprise security business.

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"A key part of our strategy is a renewed focus on the channel," Brown said on the company's second-quarter earnings call Thursday.

The pipeline for enterprise security is growing, CFO Thomas Seifert on the earnings call, but is facing challenges after falling short of expectations in the first quarter. The enterprise security division pulled in revenue of $485 million in the second quarter, down 5 percent from $511 million in the same quarter last year. The company's consumer business, for comparison, was down 13 percent year over year to $420 million. Revenue overall for the quarter was down 7 percent to $1.4 billion and net income was down 9 percent year over year to $301 million.

The company's push into the channel has already kicked off, Brown said, with the launch of the SecureOne partner program in October, which provides a security-focused partner framework that will "drive results for successful, long-term relationships."

"Our channel was more geared toward our Veritas business ... so it gives us a chance to work with those partners who are focused on security," Brown said about the new partner program. "I think we've got the right focus on getting those folks who are specialized in security and making the right incentives so they can make more money with us over time."

Brown also highlighted the hiring of Chief Marketing Officer Dan Rogers in September as another example of the company's efforts in the channel.

That channel push will continue, Brown said, despite the October termination of Executive Vice President and General Manager of Global Sales Adrian Jones, who was replaced in the interim by John Sorensen, currently senior vice president of Americas sales.

"We have a pretty deep bench of folks with experience with the channel. Symantec has always been a channel company," Brown said. "I think those partners who have worked with us for a long time know we are unwavering there."

The company expects its enterprise security business to generate between $480 million and $500 million in third-quarter 2016, down 2 percent year over year. It expects revenue overall to decline around 5 percent to between $890 million and $920 million.