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Top Cisco Engineer Dave Ward Joins Next-Gen Networking Player PacketFabric as CEO

Cisco engineering legend Dave Ward is now leading networking startup PacketFabric as CEO, bringing with him his expertise in cloud, SDN, and telecommunications.

Dave Ward, Cisco's CTO of engineering and chief architect, will take over as CEO at next-gen network service provider PacketFabric.

Ward will bring his extensive background and patents in software-defined networking, cloud, and virtualization to the startup as it expands its cloud connectivity prowess, PacketFabric said on Tuesday.

PacketFabric's former CEO Chad Milam will remain on board as the company’s president and COO, the Culver City, Calif.-based firm said.

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Cisco in November announced a major restructuring of its business units and its executive team to better position itself against it competition. Perhaps one of the biggest change-ups was the announcement that Ward would be stepping down from his post to take a new role inside the San Jose, Calif.-based company; a role that was never announced.

Ward spent more than eight years at Cisco. Prior to his latest role as CTO of engineering, Ward was a Cisco Fellow and chief architect of the vendor's service provider division. Ward also served as CTO and chief architect of Juniper Networks' Platform Systems Division for two years.

PacketFabric, which got its start in 2017, offers a network-as-a-service platform for scalable, private connectivity. The firm in January announced that its hosted cloud connectivity platform now offers more capacity, reduced monthly recurring costs, and additional on-ramps to public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Oracle Cloud.

"During a career spanning over two decades in the telecommunications and networking sectors, I’ve been privileged to drive innovation for Cisco and Juniper Networks," Ward said in a statement. "PacketFabric is fundamentally rethinking enterprise and service communications in a way that others have not … I believe PacketFabric can lead and positively disrupt the next phase of transformation for the networking industry."

PacketFabric last year received a $75 million joint venture investment from Digital Alpha Advisors, LLC, a firm that focuses on digital infrastructure and services with a strategic collaboration agreement with Cisco.

The company has raised a total of $100 million, according to Crunchbase.

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