Cisco Restructuring: Big Changes Coming For Channel-Facing Execs, Programs

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Big changes are in the works for Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization (WWPO) in the midst of Cisco's ongoing corporate restructuring, including yet-to-be-determined changes to the WWPO's share of Cisco's overall resource pool, a number of major Cisco executive shifts directly relevant to the channel, and some strategic moves that in theory will mean greater emphasis on partner-led sales with Cisco.

The various changes -- some strategic, some organizational, some tied to specific executives -- were confirmed to CRN by sources with direct knowledge of the WWPO and how Cisco is revamping both the WWPO and the global sales organization during its restructuring.

The various moves come following several successive quarters' worth of disappointing earnings from Cisco and an ongoing series of high-profile headaches for Cisco, including several major executive departures in recent months.

During Cisco's third quarter earnings call in early May, Cisco said it would look to remove $1 billion in expenses by the end of its fiscal 2012, including broad cuts in underperforming business units and the promise of layoffs. That announcement came nearly a month after Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers hinted at organizational changes in an unusually candid memo to Cisco employees.

Going forward, Cisco will shift its emphasis away from the 30 to 50 "adjacencies" -- that is, market segments where Cisco sees itself as a potentially dominant player -- and re-focus its efforts on five business categories. Those categories include its core businesses, including routing, switching, services, security and mobility, as well as collaboration, data center/virtualization and cloud, video, and architecture for business transformation. That re-focusing was described to recent attendees of Cisco's Partner Executive Exchange (CPEE) conference.

Cisco doesn't plan to abandon any of the adjacencies it's been focusing on, according to sources, but will emphasize the five strategic areas and how those adjacencies might fit the profile of one or more of the five, rather than overwhelm partners with the possibility of investing in too many areas.

Elsewhere, Cisco has already made a number of executive changes as part of its restructuring, and according to sources, many more are about to become official.

Among the biggest executive changes are that two executives well known to the Cisco partner community will have higher-profile roles going forward. One is Chuck Robbins, senior vice president of U.S. enterprise, commercial and Canada markets, who according to sources has been bumped up to run all of Cisco's Americas-based sales. Robbins' ascent comes as Cisco has realigned its various worldwide sales theaters into three categories, down from nine. Americas is one, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, two, and Asia Pacific, China and Japan, three.

Robbins' new title is senior vice president of Americas, and all of the heads of Cisco's sales theaters within the Americas -- including, for example, Bruce Klein, senior vice president of Cisco's U.S. public sector organization, and Michael Glickman, vice president of U.S. service provider -- now report to Robbins.

According to sources, Cisco wanted three single sales heads in each of its three regions with single-source decision-making power, as it hopes to simplify the sales organization overall. Robbins has that role in the Americas and has total P&L responsibility for Americas sales. He reports to Rob Lloyd, executive vice president, worldwide operations for Cisco.

The re-organization of Cisco's Worldwide Field Operations into the three regions was previously announced by Cisco in early May. Cisco's former Emerging Markets theater has been broken into two pieces, with Latin America moving under the Americas organization and the rest now part of the EMEA organization.

NEXT: A New Role For Cisco's Paul Mountford

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