Symantec Products Executive deSouza Resigns


Symantec is losing the head of its development arm who has been playing a key role in the latest overhaul of its product portfolio.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said Francis deSouza, president of products and services, will leave the company Dec. 1. deSouza, 42, who was at Symantec for seven years, will become president of San Diego-based genome sequencing software maker Illumina.

"Francis made a substantial impact during the seven years he was at Symantec, helping guide the development and restructuring of our product portfolio," said Steve Bennett, Symantec president and CEO, in a statement. "We wish Francis every success in his new position."

[Related: Symantec Preps Partner Program Changes Ahead Of Conference
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deSouza led Symantec's enterprise products and services until January, when he was tapped to spearhead the product changes associated with Symantec's two-year strategic plan that included a complete reorganization of its sales and engineering teams, and layoffs.

The company said its plan included an overhaul of its product line, bringing together its point products, to create a more integrated platform to boost its sales strategy. Solution providers told CRN they were generally positive about many of the changes already under way at the company. But they said the departure of deSouza would make them keep a closer eye on the rollout of new products and capabilities.

"The bottom line is that we've been happy with our Symantec partnership and like the changes we've seen thus far," said Jim Rock, an IT Engineer at Rochester, N.Y.-based website development and computer services firm OS-Cubed. "As with any vendor, there are bumps and valleys but, on the whole, it's been a good run."

The move could make Bennett more intimately involved in the direction of the product strategy, solution providers said. In a statement, Bennett said the company has made significant progress in executing on its strategy. Point products have been improved while dedicated engineering teams, led by deSouza, have been creating and refining the new integrated offerings. "I look forward to working more directly with the products and services team to ensure that we are delivering for our customers," Bennett said.

Vendors and channel providers have to constantly keep track of emerging technologies that could disrupt industry segments, said David Lillis, director of architecture and implementation at Stamford, Conn.-based solution provider Axiom Technology Group. Lillis said he sees it as a positive sign when a company like Symantec makes the decision to become agile enough to make adjustments to its product strategy in the face of market changes.

"We adapt to industry changes, and it is in constant flux," Lillis said. "Without adaptation we don't have client satisfaction."
The departure of deSouza follows a string of other recent management changes at the company. Symantec announced in October that its CFO James Beer was stepping down to take on a new role at drug distributor and health-care IT provider McKesson. Beer had served as CFO since 2006.

The company also lost a key channel executive as part of layoffs of sales and marketing executives over the summer. Thomas Gillman, a public sector channel executive who had been at the company since 2008, was a victim of the layoffs. Gillman had previously worked at Crossbeam, Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems.

PUBLISHED NOV. 12, 2013