With 24 hours under his belt as CEO at troubled Network Associates, George Samenuk's strategy boils down to two words: stock and sales.
New CEO aims to revive Network Associates
George Samenuk, CEO, Network Associates
The new chief has his work cut out for him. Network Associates stock plummeted 68 percent to $3.75 a week ago, after the company announced a revision in its accounting practices would turn an expected operating profit into a net operating loss of $130 million to $140 million, or about 41 cents a share. Previously, analysts had been forecasting a gain of 31 cents a share for the quarter.
On top of the massive shortfall, the company canned three of its top executives this month, including William Larsen, the intensely competitive former CEO.
The financial reversal
Samenuk knows his job is to build trust and get the product sold.
"It is basic blocking and tackling," he said, pointing to the company's $650 million in cash and strong brands as strengths.
In addition, he expects the economic slowdown won't hurt the security sector as much as it has other technology markets. "For today's companies, if it's a question about putting in new PCs or enhancing network security, most are going to go with security."
The security software market will jump from less than $4 billion in worldwide revenue in 1999 to more than $11 billion in 2004, according to market researcher IDC. Furthermore, IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for security consulting, implementation, management and training services will rocket up an average of 26 percent per year, from $5.5 billion in 1999 to $17.2 billion in 2004.
Network Associates' McAfee business unit has the lead in antivirus software for the business market with a 47 percent share, according to a recent IDC report.
Before joining Network Associates on Wednesday, Samenuk headed surplus business-equipment auction site TradeOut.com as CEO. He joined the company in January 2000, two months after a group of investors--including eBay--put $29 million in venture capital into the start-up.
Two months later, the company filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A TradeOut representative said the IPO was on hold until the market became more favorable.
Before joining TradeOut, Samenuk headed IBM's Americas Unit as general manager. He spent more than 22 years at the computer giant.
Network Associates sells security software and services to consumers and businesses. Its five business units include McAfee, Sniffer Technologies, PGP Security, Magic Solutions and MyCIO.com.