Cisco Collaboration Chief Jumps To Zynga

collaboration software networking

Debra Chrapaty, senior vice president of Cisco's collaboration software group, was on Thursday named chief information officer at Zynga, a fast-rising San Francisco startup best known for games like FarmVille, CityVille and Mafia Wars that appear on social networking sites such as Facebook and as mobile device applications.

According to a statement sent to CRN by Zynga representatives, Chrapaty will report to Zynga CTO Cadir Lee, and will "play a key role in ensuring Zynga's tools and infrastructure are a key strategic advantage, enhancing Zynga's internal collaboration, and enhancing external tools that touch our players."

"Through its focus on leading technology, Zynga is redefining how we look at play," said Chrapaty in the statement. "My job will be to make it easier for our employees to design and build for play. I am looking forward to tackling Zynga's unique technology challenges and helping develop infrastructure systems to ensure that we have the most scalable, secure and reliable systems in place."

Lee described Chrapaty as a "technology visionary."

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"Her experience with both rapidly growing companies as well as running some of the largest networks in the world will prove invaluable as Zynga continues to grow and develop games that delight our millions of players," Lee said.

Chrapaty joined Cisco in September 2009 following six years as a corporate vice president at Microsoft. At Cisco, she replaced Doug Dennerline in the top post of Cisco's collaboration group. She has also held executive roles with Organic, AllBusiness and ETrade technologies, and was also chief technology officer of the National Basketball Association.

Chrapaty's role in the collaboration group meant she oversaw some of Cisco's key UC and collaboration products, including the WebEx platform. Her group was also at the center of a recent Cisco misfire: the discontinuation of Cisco Mail, a hosted e-mail product first unveiled in late 2009 and which is said to have cost Cisco nearly $250 million in development.

"The product has been well-recieved, but we've since learned that customers have come to view their e-mail as a mature and commoditized tool versus a long-term differentiated element of their collaboration strategy," Chrapaty wrote in a blog post at the time.

Chrapaty's exit is the latest in a recent string of executive departures from Cisco. Among the big names that have left or announced their departure in the past six months are Tony Bates, now CEO of Skype, Susan Bostrom, Cisco's chief marketing officer, and, in the channel-facing executive team, Luanne Tierney, now at Cisco nemesis Juniper.

In a statement e-mailed to CRN, Cisco confirmed Chrapaty's departure.

"We want to thank Debra for her contributions and wish her well in her future endeavors," said a Cisco spokesperson.