Current role: EVP and Chief Development Officer, Cisco Global Engineering
Pankaj Patel and Padmasree Warrior co-led Cisco's global engineering teams starting in 2011, part of a consolidation that shrank the number of divisional engineering leads at Cisco. Patel then took over sole leadership of engineering following Warrior's shift to the chief strategy officer role earlier in 2012.
Though he has far flashier competition in the ascent to the Cisco summit, Patel is deeply respected inside Cisco -- particularly by its oft-cynical engineering corps -- commands a team of some 23,000 engineering employees, and is also a longtime Cisco hand, having joined the company during its 1996 acquisition of StrataCom. Patel has worn a number of engineering hats during his Cisco tenure, though is best known as the former SVP and general manager for its service provider business and the gains Cisco made in carrier-class routing and video during his stint.