HP To Name New Networking Chief

Mayer, whose title is senior vice president and general manager, HP Networking, has had the role on an interim basis since the departure of HP Networking chief Marius Haas in May.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the job is now formally hers, and an official announcement from HP is forthcoming. Reached by CRN, an HP spokesperson confirmed Mayer's appointment, but declined further comment and did not offer any additional information.

Mayer reports to David Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage, Networking (ESSN) and Technology Services units. Previously, Mayer was vice president of marketing and alliances for ESSN.

According to a bio on HP's web site, Mayer joined HP in March 2010 from Blue Coat, where she was previously senior vice president, worldwide marketing and corporate development. Earlier in her career, Mayer was chief marketing officer at Mirapoint, and also had various executive positions at JDSU, Vernier Networks, Skystream Networks, Cisco, Apple and Lockheed Martin.

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Mayer takes over HP Networking at a critical time in the business unit's history. The former HP ProCurve, once considered an afterthought at the technology giant, has seen aggressive growth in the past three years, becoming a No. 2 challenger to HP arch-rival Cisco behind moves such as HP's acquisition of 3Com in 2010 and the unveiling of HP's FlexNetwork, a converged networking architecture, earlier this year.

HP has also ramped up the frequency and intensity of its attacks on Cisco, claiming its networking product line offers double the performance at cost savings as high as 40 percent compared to Cisco products. In July, HP cited a report by researcher the Dell'Oro Group showing worldwide market share gains at Cisco's expense in both Layer 2/Layer 3 Ethernet switching and WLAN.

The two companies have locked horns throughout the year. In July, HP and Cisco jousted over upgrade claims made by Cisco regarding an update to Cisco's Catalyst 6500 switch line.

Last week, Cisco's Rob Lloyd, executive vice president, worldwide sales operations, circulated a memo to Cisco's global sales force detailing how HP's planned PC business spin-off and much-publicized executive turmoil could result in lower gross profits, price increases and a weakened HP brand.