The Cupertino, Calif., Internet security software outfit said Beer was named finance chief at the
unit in December 2003. He joined AMR in 1991.
Beer will lead Symantec's worldwide finance organization and will have responsibility for accounting, strategic planning and analysis, treasury, tax and audit. He will also lead the corporate development, facilities and operations teams.
"Symantec is uniquely positioned to take advantage of tremendous growth opportunities in information technology," said Beer. "I look forward to working with the leadership team to help realize and maximize that potential."
"In dealing with the challenges of the airline industry over the last several years, James has demonstrated the ability to move quickly to identify solutions to address complex problems on a global scale," said Symantec chief John W. Thompson. "His broad experience in a Global 500 organization will be a great complement to the Symantec leadership team."
AMR's Gerard Arpey said the airline company will begin a search for a successor immediately. Beer will remain with the company as its CFO through the filing of AMR's annual report or Form 10-K, including the execution of the CFO's certification of the 10-K.
"While it is always disappointing to unexpectedly lose an executive of James' exceptional capabilities and leadership, American continues to have one of the strongest management teams in the industry, including a very strong finance department," the chairman said. "Given that, we expect a smooth transition."
Late Monday, Symantec slipped a penny to $17.05 and AMR slid 43 cents to $23.60.