5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending May 4

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Xerox, which has been caught in a battle with major shareholders over the company's direction and which saw its CEO and several directors step down – only to return later in the week.

Also making the list this week are Commvault and CEO N. Robert Hammer, who will step down as the company undertakes an initiative to improve operating margins and boost profitability. IBM makes the list as Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway sells its remain IBM stock, as does Twitter for scrambling to respond to a discovered bug by asking 336 million users to change their passwords. And Oracle scrambled to fix a serious security flaw in its Oracle Access Manager software.

Not everyone in the IT industry was having a rough go of it this week. For a rundown of companies that made smart decisions, executed savvy strategic moves – or just had good luck – check out this week's Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Xerox's Tumultuous Week Leaves The Company's Future Direction In Limbo

It was a tough week for Xerox as the storied company wrestled with lawsuits, activist shareholders and the resignation – and return – of its CEO and a number of its directors.

The proposed merger of Xerox and Fujifilms has been opposed by some of Xerox's biggest shareholders, including activist investor Carl Icahn. This week's events were triggered last Friday when a New York state Supreme Court judge granted an injunction request by major shareholder Darwin Deason and others, temporarily blocking the merger.

On Tuesday, in an attempt to avoid a proxy contest and prolonged litigation over the proposed merger, CEO Jeff Jacobson – along with six other members of Xerox's board – resigned from the company. Under an agreement with shareholders, Xerox's new board would take a new look at the company's strategic options for its future. That led to a threat on Wednesday by Fujifilm, which said it intended to file an objection in court against the Xerox settlement with the shareholders.

But late Thursday, Jacobson and the board members who had resigned said they were staying put after all because the terms of the agreement with Icahn and Deason had expired at 8:00 p.m. Thursday.

Commvault CEO Pushed Out As Company Launches Transformation Plan In Agreement With Activist Shareholder

Commvault, the manufacturer of data backup, recovery and archiving systems, reported disappointing Q4 earnings this week and the company announced that it is searching for a successor to president and CEO N. Robert Hammer (pictured) as part of a broader "strategic transformation plan."

The "Commvault Advance" plan and its governance initiatives are part of an agreement between Commvault and hedge fund Elliott Management investment firm, which owns 10.3 percent stake in the company. Last month Elliott Management called for an operational review of the company and a review of Commvault's management, threatening a proxy battle if its demands weren't met.

Under the agreement Hammer will relinquish his president and CEO posts as soon as the company hires a successor. The company said he would retain his chairman position.

Commvault employees might also be feeling a bit nervous as the proposed governance initiatives include efforts to boost operating margins through expense cuts – as well as through revenue growth.

For the fourth quarter ended March 31 Commvault reported a $1.67 million loss, despite 11 percent revenue growth. For all of fiscal 2018 Commvault reported a loss of $61.9 million.

Berkshire Hathaway Sells Its Remaining IBM Stock

Billionaire Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway has sold its remaining shares of IBM stock, ending an investment that at one point exceeded $10.7 billion in what some saw as a vote of confidence in "Big Blue."

This week Buffet confirmed to CNBC that Berkshire Hathaway no longer owns any IBM shares.

Berkshire disclosed in 2011 that it had acquired 64 million shares of IBM common stock valued at $10.7 billion. But the investment didn't pay off and Berkshire Hathaway began reducing its stake in IBM: As of the end of 2017 Berkshire Hathaway had sold off 94.5 percent of its IBM shares and retained just 2 million shares, according to CNBC.

Twitter Urges 336 Million Users To Change Password After Bug Discovery

Twitter this week said it discovered a bug that saved users' passwords in an internal log that was not properly encrypted and urged its subscribers -- all 336 million of them -- to immediately change their passwords.

Twitter quickly fixed the problem and said there was no evidence that any passwords had leaked, been compromised or misused, according to a CNN Money report. The company, nevertheless, recommended that all users change their passwords right away.

While certainly a hassle, some observers praised Twitter for its openness and quick response to the problem. CEO Jack Dorsey said that it was important to be open about the mistake, according to CNN Money.

Oracle Scrambles To Fix Security Bug In Access Manager

Researchers reported a serious security vulnerability in, ironically enough, Oracle Access Manager, which a remote attacker could use to bypass network authentication screens and take over any user account.

Oracle sells OAM as part of the security and authentication tools it provides for its Fusion middleware and Platform-as-a-Service products.

Security researcher Wolfgang Ettlinger at SEC Consulting Vulnerability Lab discovered the vulnerability, according to Securityaffairs.com. The flaw is in OAM versions 11g and 12c.

Oracle has issued a patch for the vulnerability, according to the Securityaffairs.com report.