IP routing guru Tony Li continues his on-off relationship with Cisco's human resources department

Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

February 16, 2007

2 Min Read
Tony Li Rejoins Cisco (Again)

Router guru Tony Li has returned to the roost at Cisco, it seems.

A Cisco spokesman wasn't immediately able to confirm Li's presence, but a call to the Cisco switchboard shows there are, again, two Tony Lis in the directory. (Yes, there's a Cisco employee who happens to share a name with the Tony Li, and no doubt suffers all kinds of misdirected calls as a result.)

A voicemail to the "correct" Tony Li has gone unreturned so far, as has an email to his personal account.

For the uninitiated, Li is considered one of the top IP routing experts in the world, making him a bit of a celebrity in tech circles. He's had a colorful career that's intersected with key times at Cisco and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR). (See Tony Li.)

Table 1: Tony Li Timeline



January 1991

Joins Cisco, helps develop the GRS 12000. Reportedly storms out, nailing his resignation letter to a door.


Joins Juniper, works on the flagship M40 router


Joins Procket, leaving Juniper just before its IPO

March 2004

Quits Procket, dabbles in consulting

December 2004

Rejoins Cisco

September 2005

Leaves Cisco for Portola Networks, rejoining former Procket exec Vito Palermo

April 2006

Departs Portola to join Tropos Networks


Third stint at Cisco

Source: Light Reading

Considering Li keeps coming back to Cisco, it's tempting to draw parallels to former baseball manager Billy Martin. Except Martin was repeatedly fired by the New York Yankees, whereas Li seems to shift in and out of projects at his own behest. And, as far as we know, Li hasn't kicked dirt on anyone.

It's still unclear what prompted this latest homecoming. Li, who seems to relish the startup life, had ended his most recent Cisco tour in 2005, first joining Portola Networks, then Tropos Networks Inc. (See Tony Li Leaves Cisco Again and Li Takes Tropos Route.)

News of Li's return to Cisco comes as another of its well known faces, Mike Volpi, settles into life outside the vendor. (See Volpi Sizes Up Life After Cisco and Volpi Out at Cisco.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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