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Cisco Pings Singh for Strategy

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is dipping into the Wall Street well, hiring analyst Inder Singh as vice president of strategy -- a job that cuts across all products and technologies.

The job title puts Singh, a New York-based analyst for Lehman Brothers and previously for Prudential Equity Group LLC , front and center in determining Cisco's future direction. He's probably got some ideas; Singh has spent the last several years covering telecom equipment companies, Cisco included.

Singh notified contacts of his job change via email earlier this week, but wouldn't elaborate further when approached by Light Reading. It's unclear whether he's officially started at Cisco, but he's definitely left Lehman and has been out to the Bay Area for a visit.

Cisco officials did not return a call and an email requesting comment.

On the surface, Singh's job sounds like a big deal, especially for a big company that's undergone a few changes at the top.

Notable departures in the past year have included senior vice president Jayshree Ullal -- whose spot on the Cisco Development Organization (CDO) council went to John McCool -- and Charles Giancarlo, former chief development officer (CDO). (See Ullal Calls It Quits at Cisco, Giancarlo Quits Cisco, Paddles to Silver Lake, Changes Run Deep at Cisco, and Giancarlo Steps in at Avaya.)

Meanwhile, Cisco's brought in Padmasree Warrior from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) as chief technology officer and added Prem Jain, formerly of spun-in startups Andiamo Systems and Nuova Systems, to the CDO. (See Cisco's CTO Train, Cisco Wraps Up Nuova, and Is Nuova Needling Cisco's Brass?)

Cisco prides itself on nurturing a culture of collaboration, using the CDO in place of a single second-in-command person, for instance. It's therefore going to be interesting to see how Singh's position fits in, as his job suggests he could take a traditional decision-making executive's role.

Whatever his duties, Singh's job sounds like a big one. His initial email indicated he'll have responsibilities across the entire Cisco portfolio, which stretches beyond routers to include areas such as home networking (Linksys ), WebEx Communications -based conferencing, TelePresence, and an Entertainment Operating System (EOS). (See Cisco Takes On New Media.)

What's in a name (or a job title), though? We're hoping to find out more once Singh gets settled in.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:24 PM
re: Cisco Pings Singh for Strategy
So, suppose you've just been named Cisco's Head Of Strategy, with power across all product lines.

What's the first Strategy you'd implement?
Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:23 PM
re: Cisco Pings Singh for Strategy
Got an official statement from Cisco. Sounds like Inder won't be as all-powerful as I was hoping:

"Inder Singh, as vice president of strategy and planning for the Cisco Development Organization (CDO), leads the team that develops strategy and processes, or "operationalizes," direction and decisions regarding CiscoGÇÖs product strategy and portfolio made by the Cisco Development Council (CDC). In this role, Singh reports to Manny Rivelo, senior vice president of operations for CDO, who is one of nine members of the CDC."
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:20 PM
re: Cisco Pings Singh for Strategy
Ohh that is going to make the cisco troops really excited - bringing in a CDO who is an analysis or foundly referred to as 'paper boys'

C'mon get real - banlers and analysis are the industry arm pits.....Cisco is going really really down hill.

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