Meet Cisco's 10 New Executive Leaders

The New Team

Cisco is undergoing its biggest leadership change in more than two decades as incoming CEO Chuck Robbins unveiled his new executive leadership team Thursday, part of his plan to move the networking giant into the fast-moving digital age.

Robbins' "next generation" leadership team includes five women and five men.

"We have been developing and attracting our next generation of leaders for many years, and I'm confident that this team is ready to lead Cisco's next chapter. They know how Cisco works, what makes Cisco great, and how we can accelerate our current momentum," said Robbins in a blog post on Thursday. "Their combined vision, passion and authenticity, along with a focus on strategy, results and innovation truly differentiate this team."

As five top executives leave the company -- including President, Development and Sales Rob Lloyd and CTO Padmasree Warrior -- Robbins' vision for a "flatter" leadership team is coming to life. Here are the 10 new leaders who will work with Robbins to help chart Cisco's course for the coming years.

Dr. Ruba Borno

New Role: Chief of Staff and Vice President of Growth Initiatives

Previous Role: Principal, Boston Consulting Group

Years at Cisco: New to company

The only newcomer to Cisco is Borno, who comes from Boston Consulting Group where she was principal and leader in technology, media and telecommunications, and people and organization. She started at the consulting group in 2008.

According to her LinkedIn profile, her expertise is in strategic transformation, post-merger integration, portfolio and organization optimization, excellence in execution, and growth strategies for enterprise and consumer technology companies.

"She has basically helped companies change," said a Cisco spokesman. "When you need to reorganize and realign a business around a new goal or new set of priorities, or to be leaner, operating more efficient -- that's what she's really good at."

"Borno will be interesting because I don't know if they've had anybody like that before," said Robert Keblusek, senior vice president of business development at Sentinel Technologies, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based Cisco partner. "[She'll bring] an outsider's opinion of things."

Chris Dedicoat

New Role: Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales

Previous Role: President of Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia (EMEAR)

Years at Cisco: 20

Robbins' first executive move was to appoint Dedicoat as his own replacement as senior vice president of worldwide sales.

Dedicoat previously was responsible for sales, operations, growth initiatives and investments in alliances for EMEAR for the past four years, leading the region to 8 percent growth over that time. The 20-year Cisco veteran will be the company's first leader of sales coming from outside North America.

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

Joe Cozzolino

New Role: Senior Vice President, Services

Previous Role: Senior Vice President, General Manager, Mobility, Service Provider Video Infrastructure

Years at Cisco: 2

Replaces: Edzard Overbeek

Cozzolino is stepping up to lead the networking giant's services organization as the new senior vice president of services. He previously was responsible for next-generation access, video processing and IP solutions.

He joined Cisco in 2013 from Motorola and brings more than 25 years of experience in engineering, general management, sales and services leadership roles to his new position.

Rebecca Jacoby

New Role: Senior Vice President, Operations

Previous Role: Chief Information Officer, Senior Vice President

Years at Cisco: 20

In Jacoby's expanded role, she will oversee the global supply chain, global business services, security and trust, and IT. Cisco said Jacoby has a strong track record of operational excellence, innovative problem-solving and talent development that have elevated the role of IT at the networking giant.

"Rebecca is definitely very good and an impressive individual," said Sentinel Technologies' Keblusek. "I'm happy to see her on the team."

Jacoby's old role will be filled by Guillermo Diaz -- Cisco's senior vice president of IT -- who is being promoted to CIO reporting directly to Jacoby. Diaz previously was responsible for Cisco's enterprise IT architecture, technology strategy and IT services model.

Pankaj Patel

New Role: Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer

Previous Role: Same

Years at Cisco: 19

Patel will continue to lead Cisco's 25,000 development engineers and the company’s $36 billion technology portfolio. In the past two years, Cisco said he refocused engineering operations on high-growth opportunities such as cloud, mobility, data center, security and the Internet of Everything as well as bridging engineering silos to accelerate innovation and drive efficiency into Cisco's core engineering functions.

Last year, Chambers named Patel as one of Cisco's rising stars, saying he's a "franchise player" who is always willing to "get his hands dirty" with Cisco technology.

Francine Katsoudas

New Role: Chief People Officer

Previous Role: Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer

Years at Cisco: 18

Katsoudas has been the leader of the networking giant's "people strategy" since 2014, according to Cisco. She currently plays a major role in the company's overall performance -- leading organizational strategy, promoting operational effectiveness and elevating team performance. She was also the HR leader and business partner to Cisco's engineering leadership team.

Hilton Romanski

New Role: Chief Technology and Strategy Officer

Previous Role: Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer

Years at Cisco: 15

Replaces: Padmasree Warrior

Romanski drives the networking giant's merger and acquisition strategy and manages its venture capital investment portfolio. He has 20 years of experience investing in and acquiring private and public companies around the world and has been responsible for more than $20 billion in acquisitions over 40 deals, including Meraki, Sourcefire and Airespace.

Mark Chandler

New Role: Senior Vice President, General Counsel

Previous Role: Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer

Years at Cisco: 19

Chandler is bringing to the team nearly two decades of experience leading Cisco legal, employee relations, ethics, investigations and brand protection expertise. He has been recognized by publications such as The National Law Journal and American Lawyer as one of the most influential and innovative lawyers in the profession.

Kelly Kramer

New Role: Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Previous Role: Same

Years at Cisco: 3

Kramer manages financial strategy and operations for Cisco, earning a promotion to CFO earlier this year. She previously spent 20 years at GE Healthcare working across numerous divisions and countries around the world.

Karen Walker

New Role: Chief Marketing Officer

Previous Role: Senior Vice President, Marketing

Years at Cisco: 6

Walker is joining the team leading Cisco's overall marketing strategy after previously overseeing the company's Go-To-Market Organization. She has led integrated global marketing strategy and the integration of in-country execution of brand campaigns, said Cisco.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in global IT marketing roles, including 25 years at Hewlett-Packard before moving to Cisco in 2009.

Cisco's former CMO, Blair Christie, remains on a leave of absence and will become a strategic adviser when she returns.