Giancarlo Quits Cisco, Paddles to Silver Lake
Charles Giancarlo, the presumed No. 2 executive at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), has left the company to join a private equity firm.
Cisco announced today that Giancarlo, an executive vice president and Cisco's chief development officer, is off to another job -- "new professional opportunities," as the press release put it. (See Giancarlo Leaves Cisco and Giancarlo to Join Silver Lake.)
It's as much a surprise as the departure of rising-star exec Mike Volpi in February. One difference is that this time, Cisco put out a press release.
Another difference: We already know where Giancarlo's going -- to Silver Lake Partners , where he'll be a managing director effective Jan. 1.
Cisco just finished revamping its development organization, creating a council out of the seven vice presidents who report directly to Giancarlo. Part of the purpose, Giancarlo said at Cisco's analyst conference, was to speed the creation of new, integrated products. (See Cisco Reorgs CDO.)
Giancarlo isn't being replaced, so the CDO council will now report to CEO John Chambers directly, working with him to continue Cisco's transformation. The company still sells routers, but it wants to be better known for video, and it's got some high designs on the networked home.
They'll also have the help of newly hired chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior, recently recruited out of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). (See Cisco's New CTO and Cisco's CTO Train.)
As for why Giancarlo left, he implied on a conference call today that Chambers's commitment to remain CEO another three to five years was a factor. "Do the math: I'm 50 years old this year, and my decision-making process at 55 might be different than it is today," he said. "I think there'll be the right generational change at Cisco when that day comes, and I think that probably is going to be further out than would be appropriate for me."
Giancarlo, who'd been CTO briefly, was elevated to the title of CDO in 2005. His purview included Cisco's consumer efforts, namely the Linksys product line.
When Volpi, then head of the routing and service provider technology group, quit to become CEO of Joost , Giancarlo was presumed to be second-in-command, heir apparent to Chambers. (See Volpi Out at Cisco and Volpi Takes the Helm at Joost.)
The position was enough to make Giancarlo tops in our Top 10 Movers & Shakers list earlier this year.
Giancarlo has spent 14 years at Cisco, having arrived via the acquisition of Kalpana.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading