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Symantec CEO Thompson to step down

At the end of a busy Monday, Symantec revealed that John Thompson is giving up his CEO post and “retiring” to the role of Chairman of the Board, with COO Enrique Salem taking over as CEO.

I was somewhat surprised by this move. I met Thompson at Symantec Vision this June and found him  sharp and personable. His age, 59, also seems a bit young for retirement.

However, financial bloggers have seen this differently. For example, 24/7 Wall put Thompson on its list of “CEO’s to Go” in 2008, with a detailed explanation of the ways Thompson and Symantec have run afoul of Wall Street. The complaints are mostly due to a stubbornly low stock price, attributable in part to the Veritas and Altiris acquisitions. “Wall Street hated the change of strategy [with Veritas] and still dislikes it.  To us, the storage play and the data security play makes sense. But money talks and the money is against this merger even after two-years,” the 24/7 hit-list article stated.

In response to today’s news, 24/7 Wall St. author Jon C. Ogg writes, “this was with some mixed emotion because we have heard such great things about him and believed him to be a high-caliber person.  Because we thought well of him, despite his company’s share performance, we said it isn’t too late for Thompson and we think there is a real shot that he’s be more valuable to keep as Chairman with a new CEO rather than an outright revolution. ”

Sigh. I don’t know about you, but right about now, I am a bit sick of hearing about Wall Street. Maybe Thompson felt the same way.

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