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Bennett out as Symantec CEO

Symantec Thursday fired its CEO, Steve Bennett, amid ongoing struggles to adjust to a changing infosec product market.

Symantec Corp. Thursday fired its CEO, Steve Bennett, after less than two years on the job.

In-depth analysis

News Writer Brandan Blevins reports that experts say Symantec's strategic problems root deeper than just its CEO.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based security vendor has appointed Michael Brown, a member of its board of directors, as its interim president and CEO. Bennett also stepped down from Symantec's board of directors.

"We recognize Steve's contributions to Symantec, including developing and leading a series of successful initiatives focused on organizational realignment, cost reduction and process effectiveness. These changes have helped establish a solid foundation for Symantec's future," said Symantec board chairman Daniel Schulman in a statement.

In searching for its next CEO, Schulman said the company's priority is to identify a leader who can leverage Symantec's assets and leadership team to drive the next stage of product innovation and growth.

Bennett assumed the top job at Symantec in July 2012, shortly after the company's board  removed its previous CEO, Enrique Salem.

"This considered decision was the result of an ongoing deliberative process," said Schulman, "and not precipitated by any event or impropriety."

Just last week in an interview with CRN, Bennett detailed his plans for growing Big Yellow's market share in key information security product segments, emphasizing the so-called "Symantec 4.0" strategy that included new road maps for its information security, information management and mobility product lines.

However, many have questioned Symantec's strategy in recent years as enterprises have shifted away from endpoint security products, Symantec's core market, instead favoring a mix of emerging network security products.

The company is also facing a Justice Department investigation regarding whether its sales practices violated the U.S. False Claims Act. Symantec said efforts related to the investigation are likely to cost the company close to $150 million.

Symantec said it is convening a special committee of its board of directors to begin an immediate search for a permanent CEO, with assistance from an executive search firm.

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