Cisco bids strategy chief adieu in exec shuffle

Cisco today announced shifting roles among its top executives, culminating in the departure of its chief strategy officer.

Ned Hooper is leaving Cisco to become a principal investor and form an independent investment partnership company, according to a blog post from CEO John Chambers and COO Gary Moore. Hooper had been at Cisco for 13 years and was instrumental in many acquisitions, both good and bad: Tandberg, WebEx, Airespace, Starent and NDS; but also Pure Digital, maker of the Flip videocam that Cisco killed, and PostPath, a SaaS-based email service that Cisco eventually shuttered.

WHAT WERE WE THINKING??!! 2011 tech industry graveyard

Hooper will partner with Cisco in his new endeavor, the Cisco blog states:

"Ned has been working on his plan with us over a number of months, and we look forward to partnering with him in his new endeavor."

Hooper will work with former Cisco CTO and Engineering Senior Vice President Padmasree Warrior in these partnerships, now that Warrior's own duties have changed -- ostensibly to absorb Hooper's former role. Warrior is now Cisco's chief technology and strategy officer, responsible for "identifying customer and industry transitions" and determining Cisco's strategy to address them, the blog post states.

Warrior will work with Cisco's engineering, field, operations and services executives to define strategy, investments, acquisitions, and in developing Cisco's technology partnerships.

"Additionally, Padma will be responsible for thought leadership around Cisco's products and architectures, technical talent development and recruiting," the blog states.

The CTOs of Cisco business groups will report "dotted line" to Warrior to enable alignment of technology and business strategy, and M&A activity, the blog states.

Concurrent with these moves, Warrior's co-lead as CTO and Senior Vice President of Engineering Pankaj Patel is now the sole lead of Cisco's engineering operations. Patel will direct product development across all of Cisco's key markets and business units, after driving development in the company's service provider business over the past 13 years.

Service provider accounts for 35% of Cisco business but Patel has also spent 16 years of his career in the enterprise market, the blog states.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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