Former Novellus CEO Richard Hill named interim leader
Tepid sales and an internal accounting probe took their toll on Symantec’s executive suite Thursday with the resignation of CEO Greg Clark. The move comes as the security vendor announced middling Q1 earnings, with revenue down 3% to $1.19 billion on weaker-than-expected enterprise bookings.
The Lowdown: Clark, the former CEO of Blue Coat, has been Symantec’s chief executive since the vendor acquired Blue Coat in 2016. For now, the CEO role at Symantec will be filled by interim leader Richard Hill, a current Symantec director and former chairman and CEO of Novellus Systems, officials said.
The company is spinning up a search process to find a permanent CEO, officials said.
The Details: Symantec on Thursday also named Logitech CFO Vincent Pilette, a former vice president of finance for Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s server, storage, and networking business, as its new executive vice president and CFO. Pilette replaces Nicholas Noviello, who left the company in January. He’s expected to join the company later this month, officials said.
The Impact: Symantec reported fiscal Q4 earnings of $34 million on sales of $1.19 billion, down from $1.21 billion a year ago. Officials blamed the lukewarm result on poor performance in enterprise sales, an area that suffered lower-than-expected bookings and a disappointing decline in year-over-year billings.
Symantec stock was down more than 16% in after-hours trading in the wake of the earnings call and the executive shake-up.
Background: In addition to its enterprise sales slump, Symantec has been dealing for much of the past year with an internal accounting probe and subsequent shareholder legal action. The probe and the related lawsuits stemmed from a “whistleblower” investigation into accusations that Symantec executives manipulated quarterly revenue numbers to protect their bonus payments.
The internal probe ended last September with no major revisions to Symantec’s financial results. The damage was done, however, with Symantec stock now down more than 25% off its 2018 highs.
The Buzz: “Symantec has a significant opportunity to further enhance shareholder value by continuing to build on the leadership and momentum of both our enterprise and consumer cybersafety segments, said Symantec board chairman Daniel Schulman. “As we enter into a new financial year, [Clark] and the board agreed that now is the right time to transition leadership.”
“It has been a privilege to lead this great organization, and I am proud of all that the team has accomplished in nearly three years,” said Clark. “As Symantec enters its next phase of growth and value creation, it is the right time for the board to identify the next generation of leadership. I have no doubt this will be a seamless transition for our customers, partners, employees, and shareholders.”