Cisco Exec Changes Shake Up Strategy, Engineering, Collaboration


Cisco Tuesday revealed several major changes to its top-level executive team, including the pending departure of Ned Hooper, Cisco's chief strategist and M&A expert, and more power for Padmasree Warrior and Pankaj Patel, who currently co-lead Cisco's engineering units.

Hooper, whose title is senior vice president and chief strategy officer and who has been long been thought of as a potential successor to Cisco CEO John Chambers, is leaving Cisco to be the principal investor in an independent investment partnership company he is starting, according to Cisco. A 13-year Cisco veteran, Hooper "has a unique passion and skill for investment and strategy and will focus on this in the next phase of his career," said Chambers in a Tuesday post to Cisco's Platform blog.

Hooper "pioneered the model for large-scale M&A at Cisco," Chambers added, and spearheaded major Cisco buys such as Tandberg, WebEx, Airespace, Starent and, most recently, NDS. Hooper also managed Cisco's $2 billion investment portfolio.

[Related: Hit Parade: 15 Notable Cisco Executive Departures]

Warrior, who first joined Cisco as chief technology officer in 2008, is getting an expanded role and the title of chief technology and strategy officer -- a move that gives her Hooper's strategy responsibilities and all of his reports. According to Chambers, Warrior will work with Cisco's engineering, field, operations and services teams and "define strategy investments, acquisitions and the evolution of Cisco's technology partner ecosystem."

"Over the past four years, Padma has established a tremendous track record of results, such as building Cisco's strategy and execution around architectures, cloud, overall technology strategy, framework, and attracting and developing industry-leading technical talent," Chambers said.

Warrior also will be responsible for what Chambers described as "thought leadership around Cisco's products and architectures, technical talent development and recruiting, and she will increase her time with external stakeholders." Cisco's various business group CTOs will now have a dotted line into Warrior as well.

With Warrior heading strategy, Cisco said Patel, senior vice president of engineering and general manager, service provider business, will take over full leadership of Cisco's engineering organization. Cisco's engineering ranks have undergone substantial reorganization in the past year on top of Cisco's global restructuring.

Not mentioned in the Chambers blog post is a fourth move: Barry O'Sullivan, senior vice president and general manager, Collaboration Technology Group, will be leaving the role.

A Cisco spokesperson confirmed the move to CRN but said O'Sullivan is not leaving Cisco and will instead act as an adviser to Marthin De Beer, senior vice president, video and collaboration group, and to O.J. Winge, who is succeeding O'Sullivan. Winge, who joined Cisco through its 2010 acquisition of Tandberg, was most recently senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's collaboration endpoints technology group, the company's largest collaboration business.

Cisco commonly makes major executive changes near the close of its fiscal year, which ends on July 31. Other recent changes include the move of Edzard Overbeek, who is taking over Cisco's global services organization, and the promotion of Bruce Klein to succeed Keith Goodwin as head of Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization.

PUBLISHED JUNE 26, 2012