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Saturday, 11 May 2019 08:47

Symantec chief Clark makes a sudden exit as sales fall Featured

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Now you see him, now you don't: former Symantec head honcho Greg Clark. Now you see him, now you don't: former Symantec head honcho Greg Clark. Supplied

Symantec president and chief executive Greg Clark has suddenly left his post before a permanent replacement was in place, with the company naming director Richard Hill as a temporary fill-in. Clark was the fifth top executive to quit in the last six months.

Clark was picked to fill the post in 2016 after Mike Brown left, again abruptly. His exit, on Thursday, saw the company's shares plummet by 15%, lowering its value by more than US$2 billion.

The departure of Clark came after Symantec, one of the bigger security firms in the US, reported poor sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, though profits were bolstered by expenses being cut.

Sale fell 1.7% to US$1.19 billion for the quarter; analysts had pegged in a figure of US$1.21 billion.

The transition to a new leader comes after Symantec announced last year that it would be cutting 8% of its staff worldwide — about 1000 employees — to increase its profit margins. This followed poor earnings in the first quarter of the fiscal year.

Symantec, which is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over accounting irregularities, also faces a lawsuit from shareholder James Felix, who claims its top executives massaged financial figures.

Regarding Clark's sudden exit, Symantec chairman Daniel Schulman said in a statement: "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.

"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.”

He added: “Rick is a highly-regarded technology executive with a track record in enterprise computing solutions, and decades of experience leading public companies in the semiconductor and systems industries.

"His years of relevant leadership experience coupled with his familiarity with our organisation make him a natural fit for the Interim CEO role and will allow him to seamlessly take on the responsibilities.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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