Cisco service provider chief resigns

William Nuti has resigned as head of Cisco Systems Inc.'s worldwide service provider operations to become president and COO of Symbol Technologies Inc., a Long Island, N.Y., developer of mobile data transaction systems.

Nuti, a Cisco senior vice president for U.S. Theater and Worldwide Service Provider Operations, resigned just two weeks before the end of Cisco's current fiscal year. In an newsletter, investment firm SG Cowen characterized the departure of Nuti, a 10-year Cisco veteran, as a "negative" for the company.

Nonetheless, SG Cowen states that Cisco's overall service provider business is in the early stage of gaining momentum in traditional U.S. carriers.

Observers note that Nuti's responsibilities may have been diluted in Cisco's most recent reorganization. That realignment, disclosed in May, saw Roland Acra tapped to oversee technology development for service providers.

Acra, previously vice president and general manager of Cisco's Internet Routing group, was promoted to senior vice president, Service Provider CTO, as Cisco whittled its 11 strategic technology groups down to eight.

But an analyst says Nuti, a resident of Long Island, probably rose as far as he could at Cisco without moving to company headquarters in San Jose.

"This guy's a young guy (38), he's been very successful at Cisco but his success throughout his career has been in the sales side," says Nikos Theodosopoulos of UBS Warburg LLC. "He probably wanted to move up in the company hierarchy, however he lives in Long Island. Given he hasn't moved to Cisco's headquarters yet at this point in his career, he probably decided that he didn't want to move out there. Ultimately, if you want to be one of the top guys at Cisco, either you're going to be doing the cross-country commute or you got to move out there.

"It's still a bad thing for Cisco because this guy was very successful, was also spoken of very highly by (Cisco CEO) John Chambers and other executives," Theodosopoulos adds.

Nuti could not be reached at Symbol by press time.

Cisco has been trying to curry favor with traditional carriers such as incumbent local exchange carriers, regional Bell operating companies, post, telegraph and telephone administrations, and interexchange carriers after the competitive local exchange carrier implosion and initial missteps in selling and marketing to the incumbents. Cisco's share of revenue from service providers has been halved over the past three years, from 40 percent to about 20 percent.

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