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Symantec CEO: 'We'll absolutely have a Norton brand'

Symantec CEO Steve Bennett tells Network World

By , Network World
January 30, 2013 10:35 AM ET

Network World - Symantec has commenced with a massive reorganization, saying it will end the internal separation that's traditionally been made in security software development done in the Norton consumer division and its enterprise product lines. But that doesn't mean Symantec's Norton brand is going to disappear, according to Symantec CEO Steve Bennett.

Bennett last week joined with his executive team to share with Wall Street analysts the significant changes being made at the $6.8 billion company with the hope that it will lead to a raft of new products and services, especially those aimed at supporting the cloud and mobile. At one point, Bennett said that the division between the consumer and business product sides of the house were now effectively gone, and "we don't have a consumer business anymore." But in an interview later to further discuss the reorganization with Network World, Bennett emphasized that this in no way means that Symantec might abandon the consumer market or its well-known Norton brand.

[ RELATED: Symantec CEO on reorg: "Our system is just broken" ]

"We'll absolutely have a Norton brand," he said. Bennett added that it's possible the Norton brand may grow to include more products intended for the small office/home office. What Symantec wants to do in its internal reorg is to break down the deeply ingrained "silos" of activity in engineering and marketing that kept the consumer-products side so separate from the business-products side. It was "almost as if they were separate companies," he said.

It’s now about protecting the information and the person wherever they are, the identity, authentication and backup."

Bennett took the helm of Symantec last July following the decision by the board of directors that Enrique Salem, who served as CEO for three years, should step down. Bennett, who had served as chairman on that board, was previously president and CEO of Intuit from 2000 through 2007 and had a long career as an executive at GE. Symantec has officially given no specific reason for Salem's forced departure other than vaguely remarking that discontent had built up over some time. During last week's Wall Street presentation, both Bennett and Francis deSouza, now Symantec president of products and services, evidenced considerable frustration about Symantec's stature in the market, vowing much more could be achieved through organizational change and a buildup in engineering and research and development.

After months of consideration and review about these questions and others after Bennett became CEO, Symantec's executive team decided it needed to take steps like tearing down divisions between the consumer and business sides, despite what's certain to be internal upheaval as sales and marketing staff are laid off. Behind the decision for the reorganization are sentiments that the world has changed -- that consumers buy mobile smartphones and tablets that they're now often allowed to use in business, and businesses are turning to cloud-based services.

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