back to article Profit-strapped Symantec pulls employee share scheme

Symantec is cancelling an Employee Share Purchase (ESP) programme, angering some workers in the process. Last week Symantec revealed plans to slash 8 per cent of its workforce (1,000 heads) in response to disappointing enterprise sales. The firm has also cancelled a discounted share purchase worker-loyalty programme as an …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every week more breaches / leaks / hacks

    Plus S3 buckets left wide open / weak IoT devices connected... Yet Symantec is laying off people... At the risk of sounding dramatic, unless smaller firms come and take up the slack, a security apocalypse is coming!

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Every week more breaches / leaks / hacks

      Don't worry, John McAfee will save us.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: Every week more breaches / leaks / hacks

        What has John McAfee been up to lately? It seems like it has been ages since I last heard of him snorting cocaine off a 20-year old's breast, or being seen playing mahjong and drinking tequila shots with shadowy Asian businessmen of questionable legitimacy.

        I guess the El Reg paparazzi have been slipping up on their celebrity reporting (Except for Linus Torvalds latest tirade--they always seem to get that.) C'mon John, brighten up my hum-drum life with more of your escapades!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Every week more breaches / leaks / hacks

          You can trust the Reg to keep us current on McAfee's moves:

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Karma delayed by a decade is still sweet karma

    NAV 07 and 08.

  3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    Past time to leave

    Our tipster suggested the move is part of a Machiavellian plan to encourage its top workers to leave in order to reduce redundancy payments [Ed: shouldn't Symantec be encouraging its top performers to stay?

    From a beancounter point of view, no difference - a worker is a worker is a worker. They're interchangeable, you see. Besides, there will be plenty of time to train up the new crop once the profitability boost of this round of non-firings wears off.

    Mine's the one with a buzzword-laden copy of my resume in the pocket.

    1. GnuTzu Silver badge

      Re: Past time to leave

      Yeah, there's no accounting for the Pareto Principal--at least from a bean-counter perspective. Do they really think they're going to thrive with only the least productive workers remaining? This is a surely a sign of a company in decline; time to short sell.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Past time to leave

      Top performers are expensive. No... it's easier to get rid of them and have the others 'trained up'... Yanno, standard operating procedure. *eyeroll*

  4. james swiers

    mmm sweet karma

  5. WibbleMe

    Seen it before, if you are talented you leave

    1. J27 Bronze badge

      I know I would.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      The people I know who get a big salary mostly didn't get it from staying in one job and getting regular pay rises, they did it by leaving and getting a new job with much better pay.

  6. deive

    Imagine if all their staff left at the same time

  7. J27 Bronze badge

    You mean you can't just pump out inferior products for years, build up a giant amount of function-less management overhead and still make a tonne of money?

    Symantec is a sinking ship and this is just the most recent deck to fall below the water line.

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Sure one can:

      Just wait for the Private Equity (PE) to swoop in, do a leveraged buyout by borrowing against (inflated) assets and (imaginary) future earnings, then award 80% of the borrowed capital to management using stock options and share buybacks, then take the business private for a while and when it is ready to sink for real, re-list it and sell it off in "The Market".

      Thanks to ZIRP / NIRP it is possible to borrow endlessly against anything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The next question would be if they pulled the company stock purchase option from the 401k plan as well.

  8. Milton Silver badge

    About those beancounters

    I see extensive mention of the much-maligned beancounters here. Now appraoching my seventh decade on this unconvincing simulat- planet, I remain convinced of a rule the ineffable truth and rightness of which dawned on me after about five years into my second career (sort of fell into IT in the mid-90s, long dull story, eventually included a surprising amount of consultancy stuff).

    The rule is this: beancounters, sometimes styled as accountants, most accurately referred to as book-keepers, should never, ever, ever, ever be allowed anywhere near a corporate board, or indeed, above the middle-management layer (and even in the latter circumstance, they should be "managing" only other abacus-fondlers). Their function is and should always be confined to applying rules and doing sums. Their purpose is to obey the rules and perform simple arithmetic. The idea that such (admittedly, in all other respects undoubtedly wonderful, charismatic and richly virtuous) human beings should be allowed to influence policy is simply crazy, explains much that is otherwise appalling and mysterious in the commercial world, and is suggestive of some kind of mind-control infection.

    Why on earth would any business actually need a CFO? To provide inflatory, buoyant support for an otherwise empty suit, while repeating through Death By PowerPoint what Anon B. Counter already said in his monthly report (which was 96.3% automatically generated by computer anyway, the only wrong bits of which will be because ABC screwed up an Excel chart and should have let a monochrome graph speak for itself anyway)?

    Seriously, if you can only see income and expenditure; if you can only think in the ten available digits; if you see costs as only ever a sink of value, always to be cut; if your mind is moated by the metaphors of an indifferent grey suit and crippled by zero-sum philosophy: then you're looking past almost everything that actually matters.

    For those who doubt this as a mere curmudgeonly jeremiad, ask yourselves this: having heard so much recently about computing and automation potentially replacing human skills, and considering the emphasis of these speculations so far on low-paid, unskilled jobs—what traditionally highly-paid, very senior role can you see being effortlessly performed by a robot?

    In short, if any so-called "profession" ought to be quaking in its boots for fear of redundancy-by-robot, how can beancountery not be at the very top of the list?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: About those beancounters

      Milton, what your comment lacked in brevity is more than made up for by accuracy, I find it incredible that so many businesses are run by corner/cost cutting beancounters whose appraoch to maximising profit is not sell more of a constantly improving product but simply spend less and less with the income you have got.

      In my experience with an Enterprise Partnership backed by the UK gov in the 80s, bank managers fit in the same category, after three meetings I pulled myself and my paltry money out of it.

      1. AceRimmer1980

        Re: About those beancounters

        Just because they took your stapler.

        1. I3N

          Re: About those beancounters

          Left me with the stapler ... wouldn't let me buy staples anymore except in the first month of the fiscal year ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: About those beancounters

            ... but then you had missed the opportunity to buy the minimum order quantity of 10000 via the Unified Procurement System That All Shall Use - Or Else!

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: About those beancounters

      I've been saying this for years. Never let an accountant run your business.


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't a share scheme agreement be contractual? How can they just cancel it when people have been putting into it for 3-5 years?

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Easy: They didn't put it in any contract. Companies mention lots of goodies at the job interview, they rarely write more than a generic employment contract so it all given at the discretion of the business.

      Pretty much everyone working has been screwed over at least once on that account.

      I am looking around now because the tax issues that were promised to be fixed before my specialist tax reduction ran out and this not being placed in the contract were (of course) not fixed in the end.

      1. AceRimmer1980

        This. Even when stuff is mentioned at the interview to sucker you in, by the time it's listed in the contract, all perks (bonus, parking space, flexible hours, stock etc.) are almost always accompanied by 'at the discretion of the management'. #classicbaitandswitch

  10. Lee Mulcahy

    "a publicly usable statement"

    Should we guess as to what the statement did say?

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: "a publicly usable statement"

      Probably empty platitudes and hot,smelly air out of some PR flak's bum.

      *grabs coat and walks briskly out the door*

    2. Arctic fox

      Re: "a publicly usable statement"

      I was about to ask what on earth they had said that El Reg would not publish. It must either have been worthless boilerplate that Vulture Central saw no point in quoting or so unbelievably obscene that even El-Reg wouldn't print it!

  11. Camilla Smythe


    The company has not sent us a publicly usable statement following our calls for comment yesterday evening.

    ... Could be WidowMaker?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I still haven't forgiven them for the last Anti-Virus app i bought from them, way back in 2004 or so.

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Symantec?

      Symantec has long been the elefant graveyard of software. Where failing products eventually go to become bloated up zombies roaming the virtual landscapes, hunting down and sucking up all ressources.

      Symantec products are one of the enduring stains left over from "Centralised <whatever>".

      It is a rule that there is always at last one of these gateways for teleporting garbage into the workings of any organisation, established in the name of "Efficiency". Of course, by the Beancounters.

  13. chris street

    They've not sent you a usable comment?

    Do we assume they have sent an unusable comment along the lines of the one in Arkell vs Pressdram?

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