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Symantec CEO Quits Unexpectedly, Stock Sinks After Missing Estimates

Symantec Appoints Interim CEO as Greg Clark Steps Down

Symantec on Thursday announced that it appointed board member Richard Hill as interim chief executive officer and president after Greg Clark stepped down.

The announcement was made just as Symantec published its fourth quarter and full year financial results for the fiscal year 2019. The company reported a revenue of $1.19 billion for the fourth quarter, less than in the same quarter of the previous year and less than analyst estimates. For the full year, the company reported a revenue of $4.73 billion, less than the $4.84 reported in the previous year.

“Our Consumer Cyber Safety segment continued to deliver solid results, and we were pleased with increases in average revenue per user, both year-over-year and sequentially,” Hill, the new interim CEO, said. “However, our Enterprise Security revenue was below our guidance range due to lower than expected bookings, which led to year-over-year reported billings declining greater than we anticipated. Despite this weakness, we remain confident in our Integrated Cyber Defense strategy, which has produced a strong and competitive product portfolio.”

Clark was appointed CEO of Symantec in 2016. He had joined the company a few months prior, after Symantec acquired Blue Coat, of which Clark was the CEO.

The new interim CEO joined Symantec’s board only in January 2019. He has been on the board of several companies, including Marvell Technology Group, Arrow Electronics, Cabot Microelectronics, and Xperi. He previously served on the boards of Autodesk, Yahoo, Planar Systems, and LSI Corporation. He is also former chairman and CEO of Novellus Systems.

Both Hill’s appointment and Clark stepping down went into effect immediately.

“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 Cyber Safety segments,” said Daniel Schulman, chairman of the Symantec board. “As we enter into a new financial year, Greg and the Board agreed that now is the right time to transition leadership, and we are confident in Rick’s ability to drive the Company forward while we work to identify a permanent CEO.”

The cybersecurity company’s shares dropped more than 13% in after-market trading following the announcements.

Symantec has changed CEOs roughly every two years. Clark replaced Michael Brown in 2016, who replaced Steve Bennett in 2014, who replaced Enrique Salem in 2012.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.