Polycom Snags Engineering Heads From Microsoft, Cisco

Polycom Tuesday named veteran executives from Microsoft and Cisco to head up two of its engineering units, part of an ongoing revamp of Polycom's management ranks that's created an almost entirely new executive team over the past two years.

Rick Levenson, group vice president, UC devices, will lead Polycom's UC devices engineering team and focus on user experiences for Polycom's RealPresence video collaboration products in health care, education, government, manufacturing and other vertical markets.

Levenson most recently was part of Microsoft's Speech Cloud Services team and was previously senior vice president of products at Tellme Networks, which Microsoft acquired in 2007. Earlier in his career, Levenson held several engineering roles at Sun Microsystems, as well as Xerox PARC and Openwave.

A.E. Natarajan, group vice president, RealPresence Platform & Solutions, will lead engineering for RealPresence itself, focused on platform infrastructure. Natarajan was most recently at Cisco, where he was a vice president of engineering, and also worked at Novell and several start-ups earlier in his career.

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Both Levenson and Natarajan report to Sudhakar Ramakrishna, Polycom's executive vice president and general manager, UC solutions, and chief development officer

"A.E. and Rick bring a wealth of experience in managing large development teams and projects, in areas such as software development, mobility, infrastructure and the cloud, and they join an engineering team that is one of high-tech's most formidable innovation engines," Ramakrishna said in a statement. "Together with our existing engineering leadership, we expect A.E. and Rick to continue to create game-changing technologies that bring secure video collaboration to more people, places, devices, and use cases as the best way to collaborate with anyone from anywhere."

RealPresence is Polycom’s rebranded UC Intelligent Core -- the software infrastructure that powers its telepresence and video products. According to executives, Polycom hopes to double its run rate over the next three years, from $1.5 billion to $3 billion, on the back of software-driven opportunities.

Levenson and Natarajan join a growing list of executives who have joined Polycom since CEO Andy Miller assumed the top job in May 2010. Earlier this month, Polycom confirmed four new area vice presidents in North America and a new vice president of worldwide system engineering.