VeriSign replaces CEO Sclavos

VeriSign has replaced CEO Stratton Sclavos with a member of its board of directors, William Roper Jr. Roper is a former executive vice president and chief financial officer at Science Applications International, and will take over as VeriSign’s president and CEO.Roper has served on the company’s board of directors since November 2003. Sclavos, one of VeriSign’s first employees, served as the company’s president, chairman, and CEO before his resignation. The company has declined to comment on Sclavos’ resignation and there is little information on why he resigned. Associated Press reports that Sclavos was liked by many investors, and not by others. AP reports “some analysts said his resignation may have been fueled by intractable disagreements with the board, and the desire by directors to install fresh blood at the helm to appease investors looking for more cost-cutting maneuvers and improved profit margins.”Others said Sclavos may have forced out in a backlash over an aggressive acquisition strategy that didn’t always pay off for shareholders.ComputerWorld reports “Sclavos’ departure after 12 years of leading the company comes after a nearly yearlong internal review into VeriSign’s stock options practices by the company’s board. That review, which is almost complete, ‘did not find intentional wrongdoing by any current member of senior management, including Sclavos,’ the company said.” ComputerWorld goes on to say “Last June, VeriSign received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California requesting documents related to VeriSign’s stock option grants and practices, as well as an informal inquiry from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requesting similar documents.”Further, “In November 2006, the company said it would ‘restate its historical financial statements for the years and interim periods from 2001-2005 and for the first quarter of 2006 to record additional noncash, stock-based compensation expense related to past stock option grants.'”These issues are also covered by Reuters and the San Jose Mercury News. IDG also gives good coverage of this story. There is also a VeriSign news release available here.

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