Linksys Founders Leave to Help Cisco Tackle China

SMB networking

On Thursday, Cisco plans to disclose that the husband-and-wife team is leaving its Linksys division to work in its China business. Victor Tsao had been serving as senior vice president and general manager of Linksys, while Janie Tsao was senior vice president of sales, marketing and business development.

Michael Pocock has taken over as senior vice president and general manager, effective May 8, according to a company statement. He reports to Charlie Giancarlo, senior vice president and chief development officer of Cisco and president of Cisco-Linksys.

The Tsaos co-founded Irvine, Calif.-based Linksys in 1998. It was acquired by Cisco in June, 2003 in a stock deal valued at $500 million.

The move comes as Linksys is working to bulk up its SMB offerings in an effort attract more business customers and solution providers with its networking, wireless and IP telephony wares.

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Last fall it launched Linksys One, a new SMB-focused division that targets the hosted VoIP market.

In his new role, Pocock will oversee worldwide operations, sales, marketing, human resources, training, customer advocacy and all product development and engineering for Linksys, according to the statement.

Pocock is probably best known to the channel through his tenure at Compaq Computer, where he served as North American channel chief and later headed up Compaq's worldwide commercial PC business. He most recently served as president and CEO of Polaroid, which he joined in 2003.

Victor and Janie Tsao will continue to report to Giancarlo. They are tasked with seeking out business investment opportunities in the Chinese market for Cisco and Linksys. Their new titles were not disclosed.

"We felt the organization was ready for a new leader who would take Linksys to its next level," said Janie Tsao in the statement. "We have more than doubled our revenue since we were acquired in 2003 and we think the organization will benefit from someone with more experience in managing multi-billon dollar corporations."

Cisco President and CEO John Chambers has identified Chinese networking vendors as a growing challenge to Cisco's business.

The Tsaos plan to stay on at Linksys "until Pocock's transition is complete." After that, they will to serve as consultants to Linksys, the company said.