Symantec Earnings Call NUGGETS: Steering Shareholder Value in the Right Direction, New Chairman Transition

On Wednesday, Symantec Corp (NASDAQ:SYMC) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Driving Shareholder Value

Brad Zelnick – Macquarie: Steve, I appreciate the need to do some initial fact finding over the next several months and go out and do the tour that you spoke of, but are there any observations as Chairman that you can share and any obvious changes that can be made to drive shareholder value?

A Closer Look: Symantec Corp Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Steve Bennett – Chairman, President and CEO: Brad, I think the answer is, I debated whether to put this in the script or not. In the employee communication what we’re saying is a two-prong approach. While we spend 90 to 120 days working through to make sure that we have the right strategy to lead the security market in the future to win on the mobile-connected virtual world like we won in the desktop PC world, we’re also going to be making some – we are going to learn a lot of things in that process that we’ll make action-oriented decisions as soon as we run into. I don’t know exactly what those are. I don’t come into the job with some clarity on that, but rest assured that I want to make a difference quickly in Symantec and help energize the place and make the kind of decisions that are going to help us accelerate value creation. So, it’s a two-prong approach. While we’re working on this strategy, we will also be making shorter term decisions, but I can’t give you any clarity about what those will be today.

Brad Zelnick – Macquarie: Just a follow-up for James, James if I look at – you mentioned in your prepared remarks that cross-selling was strong in the quarter, but if I look at the percentage of deals with both Storage and Security, it seems to be at an all-time low. Is there something about the coordination of the sales effort that might have changed, and do you still believe that Symantec has the right offering to be successful in the market in terms of going to market with both halves of the offering?

James Beer – EVP and CFO: I think our sales force absolutely continues to make more progress in terms of the cross-selling effort. I think what we’re seeing in the marketplace right now is more smaller transactions, customers really looking to purchase what they need for their immediate term rather than some of the broader transactions that we’ve seen in prior quarters. So I think that’s just a reflection of the macro environment.

New Chairman Transition

John Difucci – JPMorgan: The first question is for Steve. Steve, I appreciate that it’s probably too early to say exactly what you are going to do, but one other things whenever we see a change at the helm like this, there is always a high probability or high risk for disruptions in the business, and I guess just a question what you’re going to do to try to offset that, at least over the next couple of quarters?

Steve Bennett – Chairman, President and CEO: Well, I think the advantage I have coming in from the Chairman role is I have been working and getting to know the management team over the last couple of years, and there’s a lot of really positive things going on here. I am quite excited about some of the new product launches that we’ve just launched. So, I think it’s too early to speculate because I think it’s going to be a lot of subtle things that have to change and evolve. This is an evolution, not a revolution, and so maybe I’ll learn some things that as we go forward that we’ll have to change, but I don’t sense a big amount of disruption. I think we have a very strong leadership team. I compare this to what I saw when I came to Intuit in 2000, and I actually think Symantec has a lot of capabilities in place that we had to build at Intuit. So I don’t see a lot of disruption, but we’ll see and deal with that.

John Difucci – JPMorgan: If I might change I guess just a question on guidance, it looks pretty modest here, and probably appropriately, but is that has something to do with some of the change here, and I guess what’s behind this, is it more about – it’s pretty much flattish revenue and a little – I guess on a constant currency up 1% to 3%. But is there increased concerns about the economy? It looks like Europe actually was up on a constant currency basis or EMEA, which is interesting. I guess can you comment about that, about the macro environment, and how that may be affecting guidance?

James Beer – EVP and CFO: Well, obviously as we go through our usual guidance process, we think about the macro environment, the customer environment, and so forth, and feel as though we’ve appropriately taken that into account in, both the absolute guidance and the way in which we guide, on short notice we broadened out our ranges for example. We’ve also got a knowledge that foreign exchange is material headwind here both year-over-year and sequentially as well by the looks of things. So, I mean those are important factors to really focus on as you think through the guide that we’ve offered this morning.