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CRN Exclusive: Cisco Americas Sales Chief Gleeson To Step Down As Exec Shakeup Continues

Alison Gleeson is a more-than 20-year Cisco employee who started with the San Jose, Calif., company in 1996 as a regional sales manager and worked her way up through the company's commercial sales ranks.

Alison Gleeson, Cisco's top Americas sales executive with a sterling reputation among solution providers, is leaving the networking giant.

Gleeson, senior vice president Americas, is the second high-level sales executive to step aside recently.

The company is in the midst of a shakeup that began when Chuck Robbins became CEO three years ago.

The company announced last December that Chris Dedicoat, a 22-year Cisco veteran and global sales leader, would step aside effective July 28. There was speculation at the time that Gleeson was a candidate for Dedicoat's position. The company announced in late March that it had hired Gerri Elliott, formerly a Juniper Networks executive vice president, to take Dedicoat's place.

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

Gleeson announced her decision to her team this morning, according to a Cisco source. She is staying on with the company until the end of its fiscal year July 28.

Cisco, which has not yet named a replacement, confirmed Gleeson's departure saying she will remain with the company into the first quarter of the company's fiscal year to assist with a management transition."We thank Alison for her 22-year commitment to Cisco and her leadership of the Americas team over the last four years," said the Cisco spokesperson."Leadership transitions are a very natural and normal part of a company transformation. While it can be hard to see good leaders go, it provides other talent with the opportunity to step up and it gives the company a chance to bring in new perspectives."

Gleeson started with the San Jose, Calif., company in 1996 as a regional sales manager and worked her way up through the company's commercial sales ranks before taking the position as senior vice president, Americas nearly four years ago.

Along the way, Gleeson developed a reputation as a hands-on channel-friendly executive who helped partners close deals in the sales trenches.

"Alison is one of the most well-respected execs in the Cisco ranks, especially on the sales side," said a high-level executive at a large Cisco channel partner who asked to remain anonymous. "From a partner perspective, she's always been a get-it-done sales leader that can roll up her sleeves and get it done. She realizes how key partners are, so it seems like a loss for Cisco."

Still, the executive acknowledged that Gleeson's departure is likely driven by the fact that Cisco – in a broad move by Robbins to a modern, software-driven subscription model – is not the same company it was when executives like Gleeson were ascendant. "Cisco is changing, and they're doing more on subscription and software, so it could be a move by Chuck because something isn't working out right," the executive said.

Besides the sales shakeup, earlier this month, Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of applications, left to become CEO of cloud software firm Five9.

Trollope, who until March also headed up Cisco's IoT business, was one of Cisco's most well-regarded executives, and is credited with guiding the cloud-focused overhaul of the company's previously lackluster collaboration portfolio.

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