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Symantec Fires Second CEO in Two Years

Frustrated by growing competition from rivals, security software and data protection giant Symantec on Thursday ousted Steve Bennett from his roles as CEO and board member, less than two years after firing his predecessor, Enrique Salem.

Board member Michael Brown has been appointed interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately, Symantec said in its announcement. Brown, who once served as chairman and CEO of Quantum, joined Symantec's board in 2005 following the $13.5 billion acquisition of Veritas.

Symantec said it has hired an executive search firm to recruit a permanent CEO.

Bennett, a former GE executive and onetime CEO of Intuit, just last year announced his plans for a reboot of the company during the Symantec 4.0 event. The reorganization focused on realigning R&D with Symantec's disparate product groups, integrating its technologies, removing the silos and improving the company's lagging software subscription rates. During the two-hour Symantec 4.0 webcast, Bennett and his executive team talked about plans to move into new product areas like network security and to put in place functional technology sharing across Symantec's businesses.

However, according to reports, Bennett's efforts never took hold. While Bennett did help reorganize the company and reduce costs, it wasn't enough to stem declining revenues, a dearth of new technology innovations and an executive exodus that included the company's CFO and several key business unit heads, according to a report by The New York Times.

Shares in Symantec were off by 12 percent Friday afternoon.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.