VeriSign chief steps down

VeriSign, which manages the '.com' and '.net' domain names registry, said that CEO Stratton Sclavos has resigned for undisclosed reasons. Analysts were startled by the abrupt departure, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the company gave little information about the reason for Sclavos' exit after 12 years as CEO.

Nevertheless, the stock rose about 2.5% on the news, to close at $27.94 during regular-session tradingm the report said.

The Associated Press report also said William Roper Jr., the former CFO of government technology contractor Science Applications International, was appointed to succeed Sclavos, in a sign the company is focusing on improving profits and reining in spending.

A VeriSign spokeswoman said that both men were talking with customers and employees and would not be available to comment.

Sclavos also stepped down as chairman, the report added.

The board elected Edward Mueller, former chief executive of home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma, to take his place as chairman.

The report said analysts said investor sentiment about Sclavos had been mixed.

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, the report said.

Others said Sclavos may have been forced out in a backlash over an aggressive acquisition strategy that didn't always pay off for shareholders, the report further said.