Wim Elfrink's climb up the corporate ladder has taken him from Holland to France, Italy, Switzerland and the United States.
But his latest promotion will take the Dutch polyglot far from his Western comfort zone. As the chief globalization officer at Cisco Systems Inc., Elfrink is taking his wife, two daughters and the family dog from suburban Silicon Valley to Bangalore, India.
"My mother-in-law said to my wife, 'What did you do to deserve this?'" said Elfrink, who was scheduled to depart Sunday for a luxury home he's leasing in the southern Indian tech hub. "I just tell people that I want to be where the innovation is."
Elfrink, who reports directly to Cisco CEO John Chambers, is the vanguard of one of the tech industry's most ambitious globalization campaigns.
The 50,000-person company wants 20 percent of senior managers working at the proposed Globalization Center in Bangalore by 2010. The executives will be a mixture of rising stars from San Jose and Bangalore and talent plucked from acquisitions and competitors worldwide.
International business experts say Cisco's executive migration is a shrewd move that should give high-ranking employees critical insight into one of the world's fastest growing economies.
Will Cisco successfully pull it off? Does the move foreshadow a brain drain of top talent from the United States?