(Adding replacements for Orenberg and Grebennikov)
By Jim Finkle
BOSTON May 2 At least five senior executives
have left Russian computer security software company Kaspersky
Lab in the past month due to a disagreement over the way it is
being run under its chief executive and co-founder, Eugene
The executives include the company's North American
president, Steve Orenberg, who is credited with making Kaspersky
a major anti-virus brand in the United States, and its chief
technology officer, Nikolay Grebennikov, who headed global
research and development.
Eugene Kaspersky, in an emailed statement, praised Orenberg
and his team for helping shape the success of the anti-virus
software maker in the United States, saying they "made the
impossible possible." However he added that "in evaluating our
business and in creating a plan to move forward in the U.S., we
had a disagreement about business strategy."
Kaspersky did not respond to requests this week via email
for more detailed comment on the departures.
Company spokesman Alejandro Arango told Reuters via email
that Orenberg and Grebennikov left by mutual agreement with the
company. He, too, declined to elaborate on their differences.
It is the second major management shift at the
privately-held company since 2011 when Eugene Buyakin, the chief
operating officer, resigned. At about the same time, the
company's co-founder, chairwoman and former CEO, Natalya
Kaspersky, who is also Eugene Kaspersky's ex-wife, sold her
remaining shares in the company.
Buyakin and Natalya Kaspersky told Reuters in 2012 that they
severed ties with the Moscow-based company partly over
disappointment that Eugene Kaspersky had decided to abandon
plans to take the company public. Eugene Kaspersky controls a
majority of the stock in Kaspersky Lab. ( reut.rs/1uej38W
In a telephone interview, Orenberg declined to explain what
the dispute that led to his departure was about.
"There was a difference of opinion. We basically very
politely agreed to disagree on what we needed to do," he said.
"It made sense for me to make an exit and the company needed to
do what it needed to do."
Orenberg joined Kaspersky 10 years ago. He launched the
brand in the United States, convincing retailers like Best Buy
to promote the once unknown Russian name over well-known
products like Symantec Corp's Norton anti-virus
software and McAfee, which is now owned by Intel Corp.
Grebennikov could not be reached for comment. He joined the
company in 2003 as a systems analyst, was quickly promoted to
head development of its flagship anti-virus software and later
all of research and development.
"Nikolay led the department for five years and in that time
it has turned into a large industrial development organization.
I would like to sincerely thank Nikolay for the work he has
done," Eugene Kaspersky said in his statement to Reuters.
The company appointed its senior vice president for
corporate sales in North America, Chris Doggett, to the position
of managing director for the region, saying he will be
responsible for sales, marketing and business development.
It also named its deputy CTO, Nikita Shvetsov, as acting
Other executives who recently left the company include Petr
Merkulov, the Massachusetts-based North American executive vice
president, and John Malatesta, the Milan-based global head of
corporate marketing. They could not be reached for comment.
The company's U.S.-based vice president of government and
strategic relations, Timur Tsoriev, also left last month. He
The company's revenue last year rose 6 percent to $667
million, according to unaudited results, Arango said.
That was faster than the 3 percent revenue growth posted in
2012, though slower than the double- and triple-digit percentage
growth of prior years as the company climbed from obscurity to
one of the world's biggest makers of anti-virus software.
Kaspersky was the No. 4 maker of anti-virus software in
2012, behind Symantec, McAfee and Japan's Trend Micro Inc
, according to market research firm IDC. Data for 2013
is not yet available.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle; Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh
in Washington; Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Leslie Adler and