These Are Cisco’s Top 5 Highest-Paid Executives

A financially successful fiscal 2019 meant raises for Cisco's CFO and networking and security business manager.


Paying Off

Judging by the fact that two of Cisco's top five highest paid executives are focused on software, lifecycle, and customer experience, Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins' strategy to pivot the networking giant's focus to services and subscriptions is paying off.

Cisco’s CEO and CFO were two of the most highly compensated executive officers in the company during the 2019 fiscal year, and just like last year, so was global sales chief Gerri Elliott and Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer Maria Martinez, according to the company’s annual proxy statement.

David Goeckeler, executive vice president and general manager of San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco's networking and security businesses also made the list this year, having led the team toward a refresh of its entire switching, routing, and wireless portfolio, which now is entirely sold through a subscription model.

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Here's a breakdown of the 2019 compensation of Cisco's top five execs as reported in a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Chuck Robbins, Chairman, CEO

Robbins, 53, jumped head-first into the role of CEO in 2015, succeeding John Chambers, and was made chairman of the board in late 2017. The Cisco veteran served as channel chief before joining the C-suite.

Robbins’ salary for the 2019 fiscal year was $1.33 million, up from $1.23 million the prior year. Robbins also received cash awards totaling $5.79 million, a raise from the $4.99 million in cash he received in 2018. Robbins also received $18.58 million in stock awards and $132,715 in "other compensation" linked to a retirement fund and other plans, bringing his total compensation for the year to $25.83 million compared to $21.28 million the prior year.

In its proxy filing, Cisco said that under Robbins’ leadership the company saw record revenue in fiscal 2019 exceeding $50 billion for the first time. The company also said that Robbins has created a “high-performing leadership team, building upon his demand for increased innovation, a deep focus on cross-functional partnership, diversity, and exceptional results.”

Kelly Kramer, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Kramer, a seven-year Cisco vet and the company's CFO since 2015, had a career at GE for more than 15 years serving in several capacities, including CFO of the company's healthcare business prior to her appointment with Cisco.

In 2019, Kramer earned $850,000 in salary, an increase from $763,000 the year before. Kramer received cash awards of $2.11 million, up from $1.86 million last year. With $10.61 million versus $8.75 million in stock awards and $67,500 in "other compensation," Kramer's total compensation for the year was $13.63, up from $11.44 million in 2018.

In its proxy filing, Cisco hailed Kramer led the “ successful closure and integration of five acquisitions during fiscal 2019 led to product and financial goals being on target for the year and strong employee retention.” The company also said that Kramer “consistently and clearly articulates Cisco’s business model shifts, company strategy, and performance to shareholders with the intent of continued transparency and driving healthy understanding of our current and future expectations, challenges, and opportunities.”

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

Goeckeler, a Cisco veteran who has worked for the company for more than two decades, was promoted to his current role in 2017 after leading Cisco's security business for almost two years before taking on expanded responsibilities.

For fiscal 2019, Goeckeler made a salary of $825,000 compared to $748,077 in 2018. He earned cash awards totaling $2.04 million, up from $1.82 million last year. Goeckeler also received about $9.37 million in stock awards, an increase from 2018's $8.46 million as well as $84,969 in "other compensation" compared to $53,816 last year, which brought his total pay package to $12.33 million, a boost over 2018's earnings of $11.09 million.

“Goeckeler’s team led the integration of AI, automation, security, and assurance across our networking portfolio, including products for Enterprise, Data Center, and Service Provider markets,” Cisco said in its proxy statement. “Goeckeler’s team delivered new innovation across the portfolio, including 400G capabilities, cloud security, software-defined networking controllers, new enterprise switching and wireless platforms, and silicon and optics advancements.”

Maria Martinez, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Experience Officer

In an effort to place more emphasis on customer experience and lifecycle, Robbins brought on Martinez as EVP and chief customer experience officer in April 2018. Martinez is no stranger to boosting customer outcomes. Prior to her appointment with Cisco, she served as president of customer success at CRM powerhouse Salesforce and had also previously managed Microsoft's global services business.

Martinez's salary for the year stayed the same as last year at $675,000. Martinez received a new hire cash bonus of $13 million last year, and half of it was paid during Cisco's 2019 fiscal year. Martinez also received $6.16 in stock awards compared to $12 million last year and $1.5 million in cash rewards -- including the new hire bonus -- compared to 2018's $400,569 in cash awards. Martinez got $70,631 in "other compensation," compared to $246, 554 last year which was linked to relocation expenses, Cisco said. Her total compensation for the year was $14.98 million compared to $19.34 million last year.

In its proxy statement, Cisco “built the Customer Experience executive team to transform and implement the go-to-market strategy with Global Sales and Marketing to drive a new lifecycle approach and recurring revenue growth based on changing customer needs.”

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

Elliott was brought in the same month as Martinez, replacing former global sales chief Chris Dedicoat, who left the company after a more than 20-year career. Elliott came to Cisco having served most recently as EVP at Juniper Networks and before that, she spent seven years at Microsoft where she was corporate vice president of worldwide corporate sector sales.

Elliott's salary for the 2019 fiscal year stayed at $750,000. Elliott received a $10 million new hire cash bonus, 40 percent of which was paid out during the 2019 fiscal year. Elliott also received $6.16 million in stock awards compared to $10 million last year, $1.97 million in cash awards, up significantly over last year's total of $385,941, and $58,002 in "other compensation," down from 2018's $273,369 related to relocation expenses. Her total compensation for the year was $12.94 million compared to $16.85 million one year ago.

Cisco said in its proxy statement that Elliott “has been instrumental in evolving our go-to-market model to respond to changing customer demands as well as to shifts in our portfolio to more software and subscription models.” She has also “implemented significant shifts in our Marketing organization to maximize our digital investments and to create a world-class experience for our customers and partners.”