Computerworld

EXCLUSIVE: Redundancies rumoured as Symantec slams door shut on NZ

Following its widely reported split, global security vendor is expected to close down its New Zealand operations by the end of this coming quarter…

Symantec will exit New Zealand on March 31, as the global security vendor continues to realign its business following its well-documented plans to split the organisation in half.

That's according to sources close to Reseller News, revealing that the company will “only have direct representation” in countries which meet a certain monetary threshold, with New Zealand failing to meet the required criteria.

As a result, the security giant is widely expected to close its Auckland office at the end of the quarter, on March 31, with “staff currently working through New Zealand redundancy policies” as it relocates all Kiwi business operations to its Sydney office in Australia.

Yet despite the rising speculation that an exit plan is underway, the company, when quizzed for comment, told Reseller News that “as part of Symantec’s plan to separate into two companies, we are carefully reviewing our enterprise business strategy in New Zealand.”

“As part of this review, we are considering the needs of our customers and partners as well as the organisational needs of Symantec and Veritas going forward,” a spokesperson told Reseller News via an emailed statement.

“We are currently in the process of consulting with our staff in New Zealand and are focused on ensuring we can continue to fulfil the needs of our customers in this market.”

According to the New Zealand Companies Office, Symantec New Zealand, which entered the country in April 1998, reported annual revenue of $4.5m during the 52 week period ended 28 March 2014, down from the $5.1m posted during the same period the year period.

Furthermore, the company reported net profit of $360k during the 52 week period ended 28 March 2014, down from $402K year-on-year.

Symantec’s rumoured New Zealand exit follows the resignation of Australia and New Zealand managing director, Brenton Smith, who quit his post after more than two years in the role in January, to pursue other interests.

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A Symantec spokesperson told Reseller News at the time that Symantec Victoria district director, Paul Simos, would become acting head of enterprise sales for the Pacific region - at present, Simos cannot be reached for comment.

Kiwi hypocrisy…

If true, the news comes as a bitter blow to the Kiwi market, which has loyally stood by the vendor following its well-documented struggles in the past, including its decision to split into two publicly-traded companies by December 2015.

As reported by Reseller News in October, Symantec’s board of directors approved a plan to separate the company into two, independent publicly traded companies: one business focused on security and one business focused on information management (“IM”).

And to add insult to injury to the soon to be deserted New Zealand market, of which Symantec has been apart of for 17 years, the company, when speaking to Reseller News late last year, revealed plans to target 450,000 small businesses across the country, a move now made significantly harder following its decision to flit back across the Tasman.

“This is where our partner community comes into play,” said Fran Rosch, Executive Vice President, Norton Business Unit.

“In New Zealand we feel that business prefer to buy from a company that is invested in the market which means we have to be committed, along with our partners.”

With that advantage seemingly lost, one prominent Kiwi Symantec partner told Reseller News that the vendor’s decision to vacate the country is a “real shame and quite shortsighted.”

“Especially for the people who have stood by Symantec given all the uncertainty that the company’s impending split has caused,” the source added.

More updates to follow…

Are you a Symantec partner in New Zealand? Tell us your reaction to the news in the comments below or email james_henderson@idg.co.nz