Michael Brown becomes third Symantec CEO fired in four years

Three executives served as Symantec’s CEO in succession from July 2012 to April 2016. India witnessed four country heads in seven years.

The CEO role at Symantec does not seem a secure bet in the long term.

Symantec, one of the world’s largest security companies, is now looking to appoint its fourth CEO in as many years.

Symantec cut its quarterly revenue forecast and announced that CEO Michael Brown will step down. Brown was appointed to the top post in September 2014 and will continue in his role. Ajei Gopal will be the interim president, the company said in a statement.

Steve Barnett and Salem Enrique were fired as Symantec’s CEOs in July 2012 and March 2014 respectively. Salem had a nineteen year association, including a ten-year stint as CEO. But Bernett and now Brown served as president (and CEO) for little less than two years each. 

Symantec’s estimated fourth-quarter profit and revenue were below analysts' estimates. Symantec estimated revenue of $873 million (roughly Rs. 5,807 crores) for the quarter ended April 1. This was lower than its forecast of $885 million-$915 million (roughly Rs. 5,888 crores-Rs. 6,087 crores) as per the company statement.

Back in India, the top management has changed hands often too. From 2010 to 2016, there have been four Symantec India MDs in succession including Ajay Goel, Anand Naik, Sanjay Rohatgi and Shrikant Shitole. Rohatgi moved to APAC at Symantec as Shitole took over last year.

The company was expected to emerge as a stronger ‘security-only’ company after it sold the Veritas business last year, but the firing of the CEO within a couple of quarters of the split comes as a surprise to the industry.