Cisco Loses Another Exec, This Time To SonicWall

Security vendor SonicWall has delved into the talent pool of one of its chief rivals, announcing on Thursday that former Cisco Systems executive John DiLullo has been appointed vice president, worldwide sales, effective immediately.

DiLullo already is working at his new company even though SonicWall officials originally intended to hold the announcement until next week. The move is the latest example of Cisco's competitors raiding the bigger company's payroll to fill out their own executive ranks. Juniper Networks hired channel chief Tushar Kothari from Cisco last year, and he then recruited a number of existing and one-time Cisco veterans to his staff. Nortel Networks also hired ex-Cisco executive Gary Daichendt earlier this year as COO.

DiLullo most recently was Cisco's vice president of channels for worldwide distribution and is joining SonicWall to continue its channel expansion.

"We've experienced a lot of recent high growth in the channel, and it was critical for us to hire an executive who has seen a company grow in similar ways," says SonicWall president and CEO Matthew Medeiros. "John's experience will help us remain committed to the channel and to our belief that not having a bifurcated sales staff is absolutely the right approach."

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Medeiros says the company recruited DiLullo away from Cisco.

"We needed a seasoned executive who would understand how to grow our product lines and our channel, and John's name was at the top of the list," he says. "He's already working on hitting his quotas."

Medeiros added that a large part of DiLullo's role will be to leverage his international experience to take advantage of the fact that SonicWall currently sees about 30 percent of its revenue from overseas.

DiLullo says he's looking forward to helping his new company target the fertile midmarket.

"Given what's going on in the SMB market and how well the SonicWall channel executes in the space, when I saw that, the opportunity was irresistible," he says.

DiLullo has more than 15 years of experience in sales management for companies including General Electric, Lucent and Cisco. He also holds two U.S. patents based on his engineering work in signal processing.