November 7, 2007 / 12:54 AM / 12 years ago

Symantec says two senior execs have left company

BOSTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) said on Tuesday two executives left the top security software maker, which recently gave a bleak outlook after quarterly profits fell 60 percent, but did not give a reason for the departures.

The company announced the exit of Group President Kristof Hagerman, who joined Symantec with its acquisition of Veritas Software in 2005, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It said his last day was Monday.

Symantec spokeswoman Yunsun Wee also said Senior Vice President James Socas has left the company, when asked by Reuters of any other recent executive departures. She said Socas left within the past 30 days, but declined to elaborate.

Socas worked as a banker with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse First Boston before joining Symantec, according to the software maker’s Web site.

Symantec Chief Executive John Thompson is under pressure to improve the performance of shares in his company, whose operating profit has declined for two consecutive quarters.

In the first six months of its current fiscal year, operating income fell 32 percent to $193 million.

Results are suffering as its most profitable unit, its consumer division that makes Norton security software, has lost share in the U.S. retail market to relatively new competitors such as Japan’s Trend Micro (4704.T).

Analysts say that personal computer makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) and Dell Inc DELL.O have boosted fees they charge Norton and rivals to put security software on new PCs, cutting into profits. Symantec says a substantial percentage of its sales come from software loaded on new PCs.

The consumer division saw its operating income drop 5 percent to $460 million during the first half of the year.

Hagerman’s storage group’s operating income fell 16 percent to $210 million in the first half of the year, making it the worst performer among Symantec’s three major product groups. The third group is security and data management, which reported that operating profit rose 15 percent to $230 million.

Symantec’s stock has fallen 8 percent over the past year, while that of the No. 2 security software maker, McAfee Inc. MFE.N, has climbed 36 percent. Shares of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd (CHKP.O), another rival, are up 18 percent.

Hagerman was replaced on an interim basis by Greg Butterfield, president of the company’s Altiris business unit, Symantec said in its filing with the SEC.

The company has not picked a replacement for Socas, Wee said.

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