Here Are Cisco’s Top 5 Highest-Paid Executives

Cisco Systems paid hefty cash bonuses to attract top executive talent as it intensifies its focus on software and recurring revenue sales strategies.


Bonus Round
Cisco Systems Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins' impact on the company's direction and culture is unmistakable, and the importance he places on the networking giant's software evolution is clear in a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing detailing the compensation of top Cisco executives.

Two of Robbins' high-profile new hires—including one in a reimagined position—have joined the roster of Cisco's highest-paid executives, according to the company's annual proxy statement filed with the SEC Wednesday.

Global sales chief Gerri Elliott and Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer Maria Martinez arrived at Cisco this year with vast experience at software pioneers Microsoft and Salesforce.

Sponsored post

Elliott and Martinez's importance to Robbins' mission to transform the legacy networking giant to a software- and subscription-focused firm is evident in the bonuses used to attract them to the company and the pay plans in place to keep them there.

Elliott and Martinez also represent Robbins' willingness to recruit executives from outside Cisco, a significant departure from the hire-from-within strategy adhered to by his predecessor John Chambers.

Robbins’ strategy seems to be bearing fruit. Cisco in August reported record fourth-quarter revenue, and Wednesday's SEC filing indicates that Cisco's board feels the company is on a roll, with significant boosts in salary and performance bonuses for both Robbins and CFO Kelly Kramer.

Here's a breakdown of the 2018 pay plans for Cisco's top five execs.

Editor’s note: Click here for Cisco’s top-paid execs in 2019.

Chuck Robbins, Chairman, CEO

Robbins became CEO in 2015, succeeding Chambers, and was made chairman of the board in late 2017. Robbins is a Cisco veteran who came up through the company's channel ranks before joining its executive leadership team. Robbins’ salary for the 2018 fiscal year was $1.23 million, up from about $1.19 million the prior year. Robbins also received cash awards totaling $4.99 million, up sharply from the $2.53 million in cash he received in 2017. Robbins also got $14.94 million in stock awards and $121,607 in "other compensation" linked to a retirement fund and other plans, bringing his total compensation for the year to $21.28 million compared with $16.75 million the prior year.

Kelly Kramer, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Kramer has been at Cisco for about six years and has been CFO since 2015. Before joining Cisco, Kramer had a more than 15-year career at GE, including various CFO roles within the GE Healthcare business. Kramer's salary for the 2018 fiscal year was $763,750, up from $735,000 the year before. Kramer received cash awards of $1.86 million, far surpassing the $940,653 paid to her the prior year. With $8.75 million in stock awards and $67,531 in "other compensation," Kramer's total compensation for the year was $11.44 million, up from $8.80 million in the 2017 fiscal year.

David Goeckeler, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Networking and Security Business

Goeckeler landed on Cisco's list of "named executive officers" by virtue of a promotion to his current role in July 2017. Goeckeler led Cisco's security business before taking on the expanded responsibilities. A computer scientist by training, Goeckeler has been with Cisco for nearly two decades and is now responsible for some 20,000 engineers and more than $30 billion in business. For the 2018 fiscal year, Goeckeler made a salary of $748,077, as well as cash awards totaling $1.82 million. Goeckeler also received about $8.46 million in stock awards and $64,322 in "other compensation," bringing his total pay package to $11.09 million.

Maria Martinez, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Experience Officer

Robbins hired Martinez into the newly elevated EVP and chief customer experience officer role last spring. Martinez arrived at Cisco with a ton of software leadership experience. She was previously president of customer success at CRM powerhouse Salesforce and had also previously managed Microsoft's global services business. Martinez's salary for the year was $675,000, of which she received $194,712 on a pro-rated basis. Martinez also got a $13 million new hire cash bonus, half of which was paid during the year. The other half will be paid during the 2019 fiscal year. Martinez also received $12 million in stock awards, $400,569 in cash awards, and $246, 554 in "other compensation" tied to relocation expenses. Her total compensation for the year was $19.34 million.

Gerri Elliott, Executive Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

Elliott was hired at roughly the same time as Martinez, and replaced former global sales chief Chris Dedicoat, who left the company after a more than 20-year career. Elliott came to Cisco with an advantageous resume. Elliott was an EVP at Juniper Networks before joining Cisco, but prior to that, she spent seven years at Microsoft where she was corporate vice president of worldwide corporate sector sales. In that role, she was responsible for developing a software-focused sales strategy for government, education and health-care customers. Elliott's salary for the 2018 fiscal year was $750,000, of which she received $187,500 on a pro-rated basis. Elliott got a $10 million new hire cash bonus, 60 percent paid during 2018 and the remainder earmarked for the 2019 fiscal year. Elliott also received $10 million in stock awards, $385,941 in cash awards, and $273,369 in "other compensation" related to relocation expenses. Her total compensation for the year was $16.85 million.