Symantec profit beats Street, new chairman named

Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:01am EST
 

By Jim Finkle

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Symantec Corp reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations and said it is splitting the chief executive and chairman jobs ahead of a Wednesday meeting to unveil a strategy it hopes will end years of investor disappointment.

For the second quarter in a row, Symantec beat estimates under new CEO Steve Bennett, a former head of Intuit Inc and a longtime General Electric Co executive.

Symantec has scheduled a meeting for analysts and reporters after the markets close to unveil a new strategic direction. Bennett has said all options are on the table. A company spokesman declined to offer details.

Symantec, maker of Norton anti-virus software, reported a profit of 45 cents per share, excluding items, for its fiscal third quarter ended December 28. That topped the average analyst estimate of 38 cents, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company named independent director Dan Schulman to the position of non-executive chairman, replacing Bennett, who remains CEO and president.

Bennett said in a statement the appointment would boost oversight of the senior executive team and give him more time to focus on managing the business and executing the new plan.

"Steve Bennett has been a good influence," said FBR Capital Markets analyst Dan Ives. "You now have a couple of good quarters in a row and that continues optimism around the name."

Bennett replaced Enrique Salem as CEO in July and vowed to turn around Symantec, saying he would apply lessons he learned from the GE corporate playbook during the more than two decades he managed a variety of its businesses.   Continued...