Symantec Stock Suffers After CEO Departure

Analysts believe Symantec Corp has quite the climb in terms of turning around its business and win back investor confidence after losing yet another top executive.  Chief Executive Officer Greg Clark is now the fifth to resign from the cybersecurity company. Clark’s departure came as quite a shock, on Thursday, accompanied by disappointing results for the quarter, which were markedly shorter than what had been expected from revenue which triggered a 15 percent drop in share price, which then erased more than $2 billion in total market capitalization.

Actually, more than six brokerages cut their price targets on Symantec Corp stock, which is now on track to give up a fair share of what it had gained this year. Alas, investors were desperately hoping that the stock would find stability for the quarter but, instead, they continue to be find negative surprises.  

While nobody has confirmed why Clark—who has been CEO since 2016—chose to leave, Hill said Clark wanted to be able to take care of his ailing father.  

With this loss, then, Symantec says that Richard Hill will move become CEO in the interim.  Hill joined the Symantec board, as a nominee from the hedge fund Starboard, serving as a board member for several of their companies. In addition, Symantec named Vincent Pilette as the new chief financial officer.  Formerly with Logitech International, Pilette will replace Nicholas Noviello, who announced his pending departure in January.

Symantec is already under investigation by US regulators over a past accounting irregularity, but the loss of so many executives in a year certainly does not look good. Furthermore, industry analysts have criticized that Symantec’s newest executives do not have very much experience in the software industry.  Having them as heads in the company, then, could lead to even more company disruption.

For example, Morningstar analyst Mark Cash comments, “We believe Symantec is looking toward fiscal 2020 as a fresh start with new management, but the company will be challenged to make up for lost ground in the enterprise space.”

At the end of the day, Symantec shares dropped more than 13 percent, to $19.18, after touching on an intraday low of $17.89. This was their worst share performance in a year, when the fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report, last year, dropped the stock 33 percent.