& cplSiteName &

Changes Run Deep at Cisco

Craig Matsumoto
12/26/2007
50%
50%

The departure of Chief Development Officer Charles Giancarlo last week might signify the start of a new management era at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Long considered a possible successor to CEO John Chambers, Giancarlo, 50, announced he's retiring to join Silver Lake Partners . That's the second noteworthy departure Cisco's seen this year, as Mike Volpi left in February. (See Giancarlo Quits Cisco, Paddles to Silver Lake and Volpi Takes the Helm at Joost.)

Giancarlo isn't even being replaced. The executives reporting to him, collectively referred to as a development council, will be reporting to Chambers effective January 1.

And that change might have significance beyond Giancarlo's career plans. Chambers has been talking big about collaboration as a newfangled Web 2.0 feature, but really, any business of Cisco's size needs to move towards a more collaborative management style, says analyst Tom Nolle of CIMI Corp.

"They're giving more autonomy over to the business units, which is a hallmark of professionally managed organizations," Nolle says.

He's not saying Cisco was unprofessional before. Rather, it was an example of "inspirational" management, driven by the cult of personality surrounding one leader. Think Steve Jobs in the early days of Apple. Or now, for that matter.

By creating organizations like its development council, Cisco might be moving more toward that kind of "professional" management, versus the "inspirational" style, Nolle says. And one hallmark of the former approach is that there's no clear-cut hierarchy of succession.

On a conference call with reporters yesterday, Chambers -- who's committed to stay with Cisco another three to five years -- said the question of succession is just too far out to answer.

"I do think that most likely it will be filled by somebody from within," Chambers said of his eventual successor, adding that there are usually a "half dozen" candidates being tracked by the board at any given time. He said he wouldn't dismiss the idea of an outside candidate, "but that's a long way off, and we'd most likely have three or four candidates ready at that time," he said.

"We have a lot of interesting young turks," Giancarlo said on the call, although he and Chambers wouldn't divulge any names.

Whoever it is will need patience, certainly. Giancarlo is "the third person to give up because there's no way is John Chambers going to leave," says analyst Dave Passmore of the Burton Group . (Passmore counts Don Listwin as the first -- see Listwin Leaves Cisco and Ex-Execs at Large.)

During a conference call last week, Giancarlo admitted that timing was a primary factor in his decision: "I went home one day, and I spoke to my wife and said, 'I now fully realize what is meant by a biological clock.'"

But even if Chambers hadn't stuck around, Nolle questions whether Cisco would have been ready to put Giancarlo at the helm.

It takes only seconds with either executive to realize how different they are. Chambers is the "consummate inspirational leader" whereas Giancarlo "is a technical kind of guy who really wins people over with reason," Nolle says. "That kind of transition might have been difficult unless the company was really prepared for it."

As for Giancarlo's departure, specifically -- he might be missed on a personal level, but Passmore thinks Cisco will be unscathed.

"I don't think it'll have much of an impact at all at the company. Cisco has such bench strength with the people it acquired over the years, and it's such a big company," Passmore says. "It's not like Charlie had some pet project he was promoting. Form a technology standpoint, he was all over the map."

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
marlin_brando
50%
50%
marlin_brando,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:50:28 PM
re: Changes Run Deep at Cisco
And the winner is ...........Jayashree Ullal............................with her tremendous experience will be next chief commander of CSCO.
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:50:28 PM
re: Changes Run Deep at Cisco
I filed this story just before taking the holidays off, so I haven't been around...

... but to answer the question: Not really. Chances are, Cisco won't make it obvious. I like the theory that Ned Hooper is being groomed for advancement (Chambers has apparently said this out loud). But he'll be one of multiple candidates. He's got to build street cred via his new organization first.

Were Chambers to pack his bags and leave right now, I'd bet on Rick Justice, since he's running sales -- a "rite of succesion" kind of thing.
jjakubson
50%
50%
jjakubson,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:56:57 PM
re: Changes Run Deep at Cisco
Seven,

Blast from the Past!!!!
paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:56:57 PM
re: Changes Run Deep at Cisco

I heard it was BobbyMax.

seven
sjtechid
50%
50%
sjtechid,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:56:57 PM
re: Changes Run Deep at Cisco

Craig, any idea?
PrivateCEO
50%
50%
PrivateCEO,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:56:56 PM
re: Changes Run Deep at Cisco
Easy. When the time is right CSCO simply acquires Joost and viola! Volpi is back and with some CEO experience to boot.

More than one senior CSCO leader has left and returned over time, sometimes via acquisition of start-ups they founded.

No anger or hurt feeling at CSCO when people leave. If they add value they can always come back...
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
LRTV Documentaries
No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


The Citrix NetScaler mobile gateway is an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, NetScaler can be deployed on any hypervisor, on a ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: 2 Billion Adults 'Trapped' in Cash Economy

3|21|17   |   03:51   |   (0) comments


Despite advances made in the last several years, two billion adults around the world are trapped in a cash economy and lack what we take for granted -- a safe way to receive, save and use money. Shamina Singh, executive vice president of sustainability and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, chats about how Mastercard is developing new ways to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: Payment From Every Device

3|21|17   |   5:55   |   (0) comments


A world where everything and everyone is connected creates new points of interaction for commerce. These digital experiences cannot be developed in isolation and instead require an ecosystem to drive mass consumer and enterprise adoption and create better consumer engagement. Predicting when that growth will happen is difficult, but always keeping the end user in ...
LRTV Interviews
InterDigital's Role in the 5G, IoT Era

3|21|17   |   05:47   |   (0) comments


Alan Carlton, managing director and VP for Europe at InterDigital, talks about the company's role in 5G projects in Europe and the prospects for the company in the IoT market.
LRTV Interviews
Lessons Learned From Digital Transformation

3|21|17   |   05:51   |   (0) comments


Ravi Palepu, global head of Telco Solutions at Virtusa, talks about some key takeaways from telco digital transformation experiences during the past couple of years.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
NetNumber's CMO Shares Her Diversity Do's

3|21|17   |   3:19   |   (2) comments


The telecom industry is transforming the world, and diversity plays a critical role in driving the innovation behind it. NetNumber CMO Kim Gibbons shares why diversity and being authentic is a do amidst all the don'ts women in comms often hear.
LRTV Custom TV
Software-Driven Architecture for 5G & IOT

3|20|17   |   1:56   |   (0) comments


We present Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges's report from Mobile World Congress -- where operators and vendors are working to bring a variety of technologies together to make virtualization a reality in the era of 5G and IoT.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
Eurobites: Italy First Pasta the Post for 5G
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/17/2017
5G Faces a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 3/17/2017
WiCipedia: Eradicating Pay Gaps & Squashing Bro Culture
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 3/17/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Neither Do We Click Here
Is that a prerequisite?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.