Symantec Global Sales Superstar John Sorensen To Depart After 12-Year Run

One of Symantec's only remaining executives who pre-dates the company's 2016 Blue Coat acquisition will not be with the security vendor in the new year.

SMB sales leader John Sorensen will depart Symantec at the end of the month, according to a source familiar with the situation. This follows a meteoric rise that began when Sorensen joined Symantec as an area manager in October 2005, and culminated in him leading the $4.02 billion security vendor's worldwide SMB, midmarket sales and channel operations for the past 15 months.

"John rose up the ranks pretty quickly," the source said. "Inside of Symantec, he was well-thought-of."

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Symantec confirmed Sorensen's departure, but didn't respond to questions about the timing and reason for his exit, as well as how he's being replaced. Sorensen also didn't respond to requests for comment.

"We want to thank John Sorensen for the contributions he has made to Symantec during his tenure with the company," Symantec said in an emailed statement. "His efforts have positioned us well as we continue to serve the needs of medium and small business owners."

Sorensen was promoted in April 2016 from vice president of Americas sales to senior vice president of global sales, where he directed the company's enterprise operations. He shifted to overseeing SMB, midmarket and channel sales in September 2016, one month after the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's $4.65 billion purchase of enterprise-focused Blue Coat Systems closed.

"He's made great strides in progressing the mid-market business at Symantec, and I'm sorry to see him go," said a Symantec partner who praised his sense of humor and ability to strike up a conversation. "He was someone that you want to be around."

Symantec maintained separate channels and inside sales forces following the Blue Coat acquisition, and Sorensen has been responsible for running the channel and inside sales force for Symantec's legacy business, said the source familiar with the situation. Symantec came into the acquisition selling only on-premise licenses, the source said, while Blue Coat had a robust cloud engine and SaaS business.

"The quicker they can get this stuff integrated, the quicker they can merge the channels, the better off they will be," the source said. "They need to get to the point where there's no dividing line between the two products."

Sorensen was one of the last remaining Symantec executives in power since it completed the Blue Coat acquisition 16 months ago. Former Blue Coat executives have since assumed nearly all top executive posts including CEO, president, COO, CFO, head of worldwide sales, head of sales for the Americas, head of Americas channels, head of the global partner sales organization, and head of the global systems integrator organization.

The company's service provider, MSP, strategic partnership efforts, and worldwide field and channel marketing efforts are also lead by Blue Coat vets. A legacy Blue Coat executive has been tapped to fill Sorensen's role as well, according to the source familiar with the situation.

"Symantec folks probably think there's no one in there who really gets them right now," the source said. "No one really understands their side of things."

Silicon East would like to see Symantec double down on partner support and refocus on their core mission of endpoint protection, according to Marc Harrison, president of the Marlboro, N.J.-based solution provider. Harrison specifically would like to see Symantec make it so that partners can identify and procure the SKUs they want more quickly.

"Everybody likes the product, but it just can be a confounding company to do business with," Harrison said.

A number of changes made to meet Blue Coat's way of doing things haven't been as partner-friendly, such as not delivering certificates directly to the reseller, said one partner that didn't wish to be identified. The company has also adopted a new SKU renewal process that makes it more difficult for customers to know what they're paying for, the partner said.

"Things have been a little in flux with the Blue Coat integration," the partner said.

Harrison said he's a little concerned about his business increasingly being in the hands of leaders who don't know. and weren't intimately involved in. Symantec's history and heritage.

"They're basically just inheriting something that's been around a long time before they were there," Harrison said. "We hope for the best."