Last Thursday, Symantec announced that interim CEO, Mike Brown, has assumed this role on a permanent basis. Wall Street wasn't exactly dancing a jig when it heard the news; the stock was down from after-hours trading on Thursday through the close of the market on Friday. In fact, of the 28 analyst recommendations currently tracked on Yahoo Finance, 20 are issuing a “hold” recommendation and only 3 classify Symantec as a “strong buy.”
Wall Street’s lukewarm reaction to Mike Brown represents what he and the company face moving forward. The market at large (i.e., investors, IT managers, potential employees, etc.) was expecting new blood when Symantec terminated Steve Bennett and promised an “extensive search” for new a new leader and apparently interviewed 100 candidates with 33 seriously vetted for the top job. When Brown was handed the job last week, market cynics quickly concluded that the company couldn’t attract a visible software leader or an inept board wasted time and money before realizing that Brown was the right person for the job. Right or wrong, Symantec faces these and lots of other negative perceptions.