What Symantec's CEO Would Have Done Differently
LAS VEGAS -- Tuesday was Information Technology and Sports Licensing Day at the Venetian resort here in this hot desert city, once home to Howard Hughes, Elvis Presley, Bugsy Siegel, the Rat Pack and a few thousand anonymous casino workers. It's now home to more than a million folks, and lots more are on the way, we're told.
Anyway, some 3,000 Symantec Vision IT types -- who would have outnumbered the entire city 50 years ago -- were roaming the vast confines of the huge resort hotel, as were a few thousand or so others who were on hand for other conferences -- including the big SGMA Sports Licensing Show and the Better Software Conference.
Down the strip at the Riviera was the TeraGrid 2008 conference, which dealt with innovations in utility computing. Not quite as many people at that one, but they did have David Foster from Los Alamos Laboratory -- home of the world's fastest computer -- as a guest keynote speaker. (No, he's not the David Foster that discovered Josh Groban.)
Symantec Chairman and CEO John Thompson was gracious to sit with The Station for a time this morning following his conference-opening keynote.
The Station: "Mr. Thompson, if you had to do the merger [with Veritas, for $10.1 billion in 2005] over again, would you do anything differently?"
Thompson: "Oh, absolutely. First off, we would do it again. There's no question that the acquisition of Veritas was an important acquisition, for giving Symantec a broader portfolio, for serving the needs of enterprise customers, for sure.
"But there are two or three things I would do differently: I would integrate the sales forces far more rapidly; we delayed that far longer than we should have. We would be a lot more methodical in some of the operational things we did. And frankly, I would not have been quite as accommodating as I was to senior leaders of Veritas who did not buy into Symantec as a place to work, or in what we were trying to accomplish.
"But beyond that, the transaction itself was a very, very important transaction for us, and I would do it again, but I would clearly do it differently."
There's more where that came from, and The Station will add some more excerpts from the interview right here in this blogster later this week.