CRN Exclusive: Incoming Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins Makes First Executive Move: Appointing His Replacement

Incoming Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has made his first key executive appointment, unveiling his replacement, Chris Dedicoat, as the networking giant's next leader of worldwide sales.

"Chris is the perfect choice to lead sales in the digital age," said Robbins in an internal memo obtained by CRN.

Dedicoat is senior vice president of the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) region at Cisco, responsible for sales, operations, growth initiatives and investments in alliances. He will step into the new worldwide sales position July 26, the same day Robbins takes over the helm from CEO John Chambers.

[Related: Partners Applaud 'People's Choice' Robbins As Next Cisco CEO]

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Although partners CRN spoke with said they did not know Dedicoat personally, they said they were confident in Robbins' decision-making abilities.

Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems -- a Cisco gold partner based in Calgary, Alberta -- said he was glad Robbins hired someone internally.

"An internal candidate is more reassuring than to see someone coming externally," said MacDonald. "I've seen Chuck place very strong people like Allison Gleeson to run the Americas, bringing in Bernadette Wightman for Canada, so from my personal lenses, the new leaders that Chuck's positioned have been very complementary to the channel."

Mont Phelps, CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based NWN, No. 81 on the CRN 2014 Solution Provider 500 list, said Robbins had a "deep bench" of candidates to choose from.

"If Chuck thinks this guy's good, I'm quite confident he will be," said Phelps. "Chuck's a real people guy and there's a tremendous amount of resources at Cisco, a lot of good people there. … I'm confident in his decisions."

Chambers last year, in an interview with CRN, named Dedicoat as one of the rising stars at Cisco.

Dedicoat is a 20-year veteran of Cisco and will be the company's first leader of sales coming from outside North America.

Under Dedicoat’s leadership, the EMEAR region was the first area to fully integrate Cisco’s product and services sales teams, according to Robbins.

"Given his exceptional track record of success and his deep relationships with customers around the globe, I have no doubt that Chris is the right leader for our sales team," said Robbins.

Dedicoat led the region to 8 percent growth over the past four years, according to Robbins. During Cisco's third-quarter earnings call this month, the San Jose, Cailf.-based networking giant reported a 4 percent growth in Europe, Middle East and Africa year-over-year -- though Russia's numbers fell dramatically, 41 percent from the same quarter last year.

Robbins said Cisco will name a new leader for EMEAR "as soon as possible."

"I'm excited to see how Chris will share [his] passion with the team, and inspire us all to do great things," said Robbins.

On May 4, Cisco unveiled that Robbins, a 17-year Cisco veteran and former U.S. channel chief, would become the next CEO. Chambers, 65, has been CEO for the past 20 years and will continue to serve as chairman of the Cisco board.

"[Chambers and Robbins] are putting all the pieces and parts in place for the restructuring," said Robert Keblusek, senior vice president of business development at Sentinel Technologies, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based Cisco partner.