Juniper Nabs Cisco Strategist

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) has appointed a new corporate strategist and has nabbed from him from arch rival Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Juniper Appoints Chief Strategist.)

Juniper says Luis Avila-Marco is now its senior VP of corporate development, with "responsibility for leading corporate strategic planning, as well as the development of key strategic relationships for the company." Avila-Marco, who started with Juniper Monday and will be responsible for mergers and acquisitions, among other exciting things, will report directly to chairman and CEO Scott Kriens.

News of the appointment comes one day after Juniper announced John Morris as its new executive VP of worldwide field operations "with responsibility for heading Juniper’s global sales, services and channel organizations." He didn't join from Cisco: Morris was previously the CEO at Pay By Touch, a "pioneer in biometric payments" that went out of business earlier this year. [Ed note: That reminds me of something my mother used to say: "If you can't afford it, don't touch it!"]

Juniper describes 39-year-old Avila-Marco as a "seasoned corporate strategist," as he joins from the post of VP of corporate strategic planning at Cisco outfit Scientific-Atlanta, where he had worked for 14 years.

"Luis brings the optimal balance of conceptual and analytical expertise, in both strategy and operating roles that we need to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us and to fortify our leadership position in the market for high-performance network infrastructure," stated Kriens in Juniper's official news announcement.

"And he can give us the skinny on what Cisco's planning," Kriens could have said, but didn't.

Avila-Marco replaces Spencer Greene, who has been shunted off to be senior VP of customer advocacy. It's not clear if that post comes with a new set of gardening tools.

Juniper says Greene, who was two years in the lead corporate development role, "will now focus his exclusive attention on customers' business and networking requirements, ensuring that Juniper... " and so on. (See Juniper Names New Execs.)

Avila-Marco arrives as Juniper continues its push into the enterprise and Ethernet equipment sectors, but with his recent background (at Scientific Atlanta) being video-based technology, it's just possible that Juniper might now look to go the way of Cisco and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and buy into the video delivery technology market. (See Feature Story: Juniper's Enterprise Vision, Juniper Storms Into Ethernet Switching, and Ericsson: Tandberg Is Key to IPTV.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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