Greg Clark is the fourth CEO at Symantec to exit in seven years

Greg Clark is the fourth CEO at Symantec to exit in seven years

The CEO role at Symantec hasn’t been a secure bet for a long time

Credit: Dreamstime

The CEO role at Symantec hasn’t been a secure bet for a long time.

Symantec, a security behemoth, has lost its fourth CEO in little over seven years.

Greg Clark was appointed Symantec CEO when the security giant acquired Blue Coat in 2016.

He stepped down unexpectedly last week, the same day the security vendor issued a profit warning, sending the shares plunging in after-hours trading.

Symantec said Clark will be replaced by director Richard Hill on an interim basis.

Hill was formerly CEO of semiconductor maker Novellus Systems, giving him experience in enterprise sales, an area where Symantec has faltered.

The leadership change follows multiple key executive exits at Symantec late last year, including the chief operating officer and the chief marketing officer.

When asked on Clark's sudden departure by analysts on a call after the earnings announcement, Hill said, "He has had issues with his father being ill. And the pressure is quite high that we want to continue to deliver strong financial results and also growth on the top line for shareholders, simultaneously.”

Symantec reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales of US$1.19 billion, down from US$1.21 billion a year ago and below analysts' estimates of US$1.21 billion, according to data from Refinitiv. The security vendor also said it expects first-quarter profit between 30 cents and 34 cents per share, below estimates of 40 cents per share.

In 2016, Symantec announced plans to acquire Blue Coat Systems for a price of US$4.65 billion in 2016 as the web and cloud security vendor will become part of Symantec.

Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark was appointed chief executive officer of Symantec and join the Symantec Board upon closing of the transaction, replacing Michael Brown.

In the year of 2016, Symantec cut its quarterly revenue forecast and announced that CEO Michael Brown will step down in April 2016. Brown was appointed to the top post in September 2014.

Salem Enrique and Steve Bennett were fired as Symantec’s CEOs in July 2012 and March 2014 respectively.

Salem had a nineteen year association, including a three-year stint as CEO before replaced by company’s chairman Benett.

But Bennett and Brown served as president (and CEO) for little less than two years each.

And now Greg Clark is the latest Symantec CEO to quit from the post in less than three years.


Greg Clark | June 2016 to April 2019

Michael Brown | September 2014 to April 2016

Steve Bennett  | July 2012 to March 2014

Salem Enrique | June 2009 to July 2012

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