Microsoft Taps Cisco Exec To Manage Public Sector Business

Microsoft appointed former Cisco Systems executive Laura Ipsen to lead the software company's $8 billion worldwide public sector business.

As corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Public Sector organization, Ipsen will lead the company's sales and marketing efforts to customers in government, public safety, national security, education and nonprivate health care in more than 100 countries, Microsoft said Wednesday.

Ipsen will report to Susan Hauser, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise & Partner Group.

Ipsen replaces Linda Zecher, who served as corporate vice president of Microsoft's worldwide public sector business from February 2009 to September 2011 when she left to become president and CEO of education products and services company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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At Cisco Ipsen served as senior vice president and general manager of the company's Connected Energy Networks business. Ipsen's departure leaves questions about Cisco's plans for its smart-grid strategy, which observers said the company appeared to be de-emphasizing in 2011. But last month the company added new products and services to its Connected Grid portfolio of products used by the utility industry to modernize the electric grid.

Before that Ipsen established and managed Cisco's Global Policy and Government Affairs division. She joined Cisco in 1995. Prior to that she worked in government affairs and international trade at Hitachi Data Systems, Acer and PricewaterhouseCooper, according to Microsoft.