Cisco COO Maria Martinez Suddenly Departs In Wake Of Widespread Layoffs

Cisco EVP and COO Maria Martinez is leaving on the heels of a companywide layoff notice impacting 5 percent of the global workforce, and as Cisco’s pending $28 billion acquisition of Splunk looms.

Cisco Systems’ executive vice president and chief operating officer, Maria Martinez, is departing the company following a companywide layoff notice and on the heels of Cisco’s pending $28 billion acquisition of Splunk, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins announced on Tuesday afternoon.

“Today I shared the news that after nearly six years at Cisco … Maria Martinez, will be departing the company,” Robbins said in a LinkedIn post. “Those of you who know [Martinez] know how she pours her heart and soul into her work with passion and enthusiasm. During her time at Cisco, she has been relentlessly focused on our success and building high-value experiences for our customers, our partners, and our people. As Cisco moves into a new chapter with the pending Splunk acquisition, Maria will take on her own next chapter where she can spend more time with her family and pursue other interests.”

Robbins brought on Martinez as executive vice president and chief customer experience officer in April 2018 when the company began emphasizing customer experience and lifecycle services. She moved into her current role as COO in 2021.

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Prior to her appointment with Cisco, she served as president of customer success at CRM powerhouse Salesforce for more than eight years. She also previously managed Microsoft’s global services business during her more than six-year tenure with the company.

Robbins in his post called Martinez “instrumental” in accelerating Cisco’s transformation in favor of software and subscriptions.

“As COO, she oversaw some of the most complex industry and global issues including the supply chain crisis, security vulnerabilities, international conflict, and a pandemic,” Robbins added. “Her leadership has helped us achieve the strong foundation we have today. She has been an incredible partner and friend to me personally, and I am forever grateful for her counsel and the many laughs we’ve had along the way.”

Martinez was the third-highest paid executive at Cisco in 2023.

Cisco during its most recent fiscal quarter, in which the company posted results for last week, ran into lowered product revenues. At the same time, the tech giant confirmed that it would be cutting jobs globally to adjust expenses and investments to reflect the current macro environment, Robbins told investors during the company’s fiscal Q2 2024 earnings call at the time.

Cisco in its second quarter filings announced a companywide layoff that would impact about 5 percent of its workforce, or about 4,250 employees, as it works to realign its organization to focus on “key priority” areas. The tech giant expects to recognize about $800 million in charges associated with the restructuring, which Cisco said was largely related to severance and other one-time termination benefits. The majority of the costs are expected to occur in the third fiscal quarter and will continue into the first half of the company’s fiscal 2025, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based company.