Hit Parade: 15 Notable Cisco Executive Departures4:00 PM EST Mon. Aug. 08, 2011
Cisco is in the midst of a company-wide restructuring as it looks to remove $1 billion in expenses by the end of its fiscal 2012, and part of that restructuring is a plan to layoff 6,500 full time Cisco employees. Cisco confirmed initial details of the layoff -- which includes about 2,100 early retirees -- in mid-July, and began notifying many of the affected employees during the first week of August.
It's worth noting, however, that major executive talents have been exiting Cisco at a steady clip for nearly a year. Here's a look at 15 of the most notable Cisco executive departures -- already happened, or pending -- including not only top senior vice presidents but notable channel- and market segment-specific executives, too.
Tony Bates left Cisco to become CEO of Skype in October 2010, following a 15-year career there. His last title at Cisco was senior vice president, enterprise, commercial and small business group, and he was a past general manager of Cisco's Service Provider unit. Bates' career has taken another twist and turn since the Skype appointment, following Microsoft's $8.5 billion to acquire the company. If all goes according to plan, Bates will become president, Microsoft Skype Division, reporting to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
She's not the highest ranking Cisco executive to leave the networking titan this year, but she may be the one many Cisco partners know best: Luanne Tierney, who exited her channels marketing post at Cisco in January to become vice president, global partner marketing at rival Juniper.
Tierney, who while at Cisco led several popular marketing programs, is already putting her stamp on Juniper's marketing organization. She recently confirmed to CRN details of several new Juniper marketing programs and conferences, including a training seminar series called InnoVAR and news of Juniper's first-ever global partner conference.
To date, Cisco's highest-ranking executive departure in the past year: Susan Bostrom, executive vice president, chief marketing officer and head of its Worldwide Government Affairs organization. Bostrom's departure was announced in January, and she was replaced by Blair Christie, most recently Cisco's senior vice president of global corporate communications. Bostrom's 14-year career at Cisco included the build-out of the Internet Business Solutions Group, and also the change in Cisco's logo and makeover of Cisco's corporate Web site. She was also a co-leader of Cisco's Small Business Council among other key roles.
The first big shoe to drop at Cisco this year was the reorganization of its Consumer Business Unit, including the announcement in April that Cisco would discontinue the Flip video camera. Jonathan Kaplan, who was CEO of Flip maker Pure Digital before Cisco bought his company in March 2009, may have telegraphed that move with his exit from Cisco in February. Kaplan, who had been senior vice president and general manager of consumer products, has since moved on to, well, high-end deli sandwiches, and the consumer unit at Cisco now rolls up to Marthin De Beer, senior vice president, Emerging Business Group.
Cisco took a big blow to its collaboration team with the departure of Debra Chrapaty, senior vice president of the Collaboration Software Group, who left Cisco in April to become CIO at Zynga, the fast-rising Internet gaming startup. She had come to Cisco from Microsoft, and at the time replaced Doug Dennerline in a key post running Cisco's UC and collaboration products, including WebEx. Chrapaty was also present for a Cisco collaboration debacle: the discontinuation of Cisco Mail, which was said to have cost Cisco as much as $250 million in development.
Dan Scheinman has probably seen his fair share of both good days and bad days at Cisco: he'd been there 19 years by the time he announced his resignation in April. Scheinman, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Media Solutions Group, moved on from Cisco as it closed the book on Eos, a SaaS-based media solutions platform Cisco debuted in 2007. Earlier in his Cisco career, Scheinman managed Cisco's M&A for several years before the Media Solutions Group was launched. He reported to Chambers.
Another big Cisco-to-Juniper defection: Nawaf Bitar, who became Juniper's vice president and general manager, Emerging Technologies, in April. Most recently Cisco's vice president, engineering and operations, Security Technology Business Unit, Bitar first joined Cisco in 2007 following Cisco's acquisition of IronPort Systems, and in his last role at Cisco oversaw the company's security and antispam products.
Yet another big Cisco-to-Juniper defection: Christofer Hoff, well known in security circles for his expertise and for his prolific Twitter feed (@beaker), made the move in mid-June, following two years as the director of cloud and virtualization solutions for Cisco's Security Technology Business Unit.
Wrote Hoff of the move on his personal blog: "The reasons: C'mon, really? OK: Lots of awesome people, innovative technology AND execution, a manageable size, some very interesting new challenges and the ever-present need to change the way the world thinks about, talks about and operationalizes 'security.'"
When Cisco launched its Voluntary Early Retirement Program earlier this year, it was Brian Schipper, then Cisco's senior vice president, human resources, who laid out the reasons why. The last program, in 2009, was "very well-received by employees, and requests have been made to consider offering a similar opportunity now," Schipper wrote in a letter to eligible Cisco employees in April.
Schipper has since left Cisco as well, and is now head of global human resources for Groupon.
Another hit for Cisco's collaboration team: David Knight, most recently CTO of Cisco's Collaboration Software Group, left Cisco this spring. In June, he was confirmed as the new executive vice president of product management and marketing at Proofpoint, a specialist in SaaS security.
As Cisco restructures, longtime executives are being put into new roles, and many have opted to exit the company. George O'Meara, senior vice president U.S. & Canada services, is one of the latter, and sources close to Cisco confirmed his retirement in late June. Kerry Lynn Lambert is now Cisco's vice president of services sales, replacing O'Meara, and the various services organizations at Cisco now report up to Nick Earle, senior vice president, worldwide services sales and channels.
Several executives well-known to Cisco channel partners opted for Cisco's early retirement package, and they included Dave O'Callaghan, vice president, worldwide commercial sales. O'Callaghan, who before being named to that role in 2010 was Cisco's distribution chief, was the prime mover behind Cisco's Fast Track 2, a program to help move lower-end Cisco routing, switching and security products more efficiently through distribution. O'Callaghan's role at Cisco has essentially been eliminated, with the channel aspect of commercial sales now under Andrew Sage, vice president worldwide partner-led, in his new role running Cisco's partner-led strategy.
Another well-known early retiree from Cisco is Karl Meulema, who was senior vice president, global strategy and operations, and a key executive in Cisco's services strategy for partners and its advocacy for letting channel partners keep services revenue for themselves.
"Unlike many others in the industry, we're not building out a services organization of hundreds of thousands of people. We go through our partners," Meulema told CRN in March. "At same time, that means we have to take responsibility for making our partners successful; in other words, enabling our partners."
Enrique Rodriguez came to Cisco from Microsoft in 2010 to become the head of Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group (SPTVG). Rodriguez managed over $2 billion in Cisco revenue and had oversight for Cisco products like its Content Delivery System, video servers and Videoscape, as well as other portfolio items under the banner of television and video service sales to service provider customers. But Rodriguez's departure was confirmed by Cisco following a change in the reporting structure for its video units, whose service provider, enterprise and consumer video businesses have been combined under Marthin De Beer, senior vice president, Emerging Business Group.
Ed Richards came to Cisco following its acquisition of Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence in 2009. Richards-Zeta, of which Richards was CEO and a founder, brought Cisco building management technology and helped yield Cisco Mediator, a system that monitors and manages heating systems, A/C systems and various other appliances within commercial buildings to make their use more efficient. Following the acquisition, Richards became a director of worldwide business development at Cisco, but Cisco confirmed to CRN and other outlets that Richards was among those who took Cisco's early retirement package last month. The team Richards was part of reports into Marthin De Beer, senior vice president, Emerging Business Group.