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Symantec Terminates CEO Steve Bennett

Michael Brown Appointed Interim CEO, Replacing Steve Bennett

Symantec on Thursday announced that CEO Steve Bennett was terminated by the security company and has been replaced by board member Michael Brown as interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Bennett has also resigned from Symantec's board of directors, the company said.

Symantec Fires Steve Bennett

Bennett took the top position at Symantec in July 2012, after former president and CEO Enrique Salem was pushed out at the decision of the Board of Directors.

President Barack Obama appointed Bennett to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) in June 2013.

In April 2013, Bennett, told attendees at its own Vision Conference that the company was changing, and acknowledged that Symantec “lacked strategy” when it came to dealing with acquisitions. His plan was to move the company forward slowly, but consistently and make Symantec easier to do business with. 

That strategy, or at least the execution of it, hasn't impressed the board of directors.

A special committee of the board will immediately begin the search for a permanent CEO with the assistance of an executive search firm, Symantec said.

After acknowledging Bennett’s contributions, the company said its priority is to “identify a leader who can leverage our company's assets” and manage a leadership team to drive the next stage of the company’s product innovation and growth.

The decision to terminate Bennett was the result of an “ongoing deliberative process" and not precipitated by any event or impropriety, Symantec said.

Brown joined Symantec's board of directors following the company's merger with VERITAS Software in July 2005, and previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of Quantum Corporation.

"With recent key hires, we have a leadership team in place that is capable of accelerating our growth and I look forward to working closely with them to help execute the next phase of the company's transformation plan,” Brown said in a statement.

“By concentrating on product innovation and growth initiatives, we aim to leverage Symantec's tremendous assets across both consumer and enterprise applications to enhance our position as a market leader," he added.

As interim president and chief executive officer, Brown will work with Symantec's executive team to facilitate an orderly leadership transition while overseeing the company's ongoing transformation, the company said.

In December 2013, president of products and services Francis deSouza, left the company to become President of Illumina, a San Diego, Calif.-based life sciences company.

Earlier this month, Symantec appointed Thomas Seifert as executive vice president and chief financial officer, replacing James Beer who in September 2013 announced he would leave the company to become the chief financial officer of McKesson Corporation.

Shares of Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) were trading down nearly 10 percent at $18.95 in after hours trading at the time of publishing.