Partners: Cisco Exec Shakeup Is A Sign Of CEO Robbins' Focus On Software Transformation

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The impending exit of two top Cisco executives, including the company's global sales leader, is yet another sign of CEO Chuck Robbins' no-holds-barred push to remake the networking behemoth into a recurring-revenue software powerhouse, said solution providers.

"Cisco is making this huge transition to do more software and subscriptions, so there's going to be tremendous amount of change, and it is difficult for some people to make that change," said one top executive from a Cisco solution provider, who asked not to be identified. "The cloud strategy overall has been coming together since Chuck took over [two-and-a-half years ago]

The cloud and software strategy is much stronger now, and I think -- we hope -- all of this will pay off."

[Related: Partners: Cisco's Software Strategy Is Resonating With Customers, Driving Business]

Cisco's top sales leader Chris Dedicoat (pictured), executive vice president of worldwide sales, a 22-year Cisco veteran, will be leaving the networking market leader at the end of its fiscal year on July 28, 2018, said Cisco Thursday. San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco has yet to name Dedicoat's replacement.

Robbins handpicked Dedicoat as his successor for the top global sales job in July, 2015.  He was Robbins' first major appointment as CEO.

Rebecca Jacoby, a 22-year Cisco veteran who is currently senior vice president of operations, plans to retire from Cisco on Jan. 27, 2018. Jacoby will be replaced by Cisco's current senior vice president of Asia Pacific and Japan, Irving Tan, who is taking on a new role as senior vice president of operations and digital, according to the company.

Both Dedicoat and Jacoby will transition to advisory roles after their exits next year, Cisco said.

A senior executive at a large West Coast solution provider that works with Cisco said the arrangement "is just a graceful way for [Dedicoat] to transition out."

A top executive at one East Coast solution provider that works with Cisco said Dedicoat vacating his position clears the way for Robbins to install a sales leader more attuned to driving recurring revenue in an increasingly cloud-based market. To that end, the executive said he expects movement in Cisco's executive ranks over the next six months. "There's movement in the mill," he said.

The executive described Dedicoat as "a stubborn-type guy," and said his replacement ought to carry a modern, cloud-based sales skill set.

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