Symbol's Cisco Snatch

Wireless LAN networking player Symbol Technologies Inc. has managed to lure another top executive away from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), just months after nabbing Cisco heir apparent Bill Nuti for its president and COO.

The Holtsville, N.Y., company is planning to announce the coup tomorrow. However, Unstrung has learned from a Cisco employee familiar with the matter that the defector is Todd Abbott, former Group Vice-President, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Service Provider Sales, Cisco Europe.

Abbott's former personal assistant at Cisco France confirmed that he has left the company. "We don't know where he has gone," she says. "He's back in the U.S."

In fact, Abbott is already settling in to his new position as head of worldwide sales at Symbol. The company's HR department was trying to find us a telephone number where we could contact Abbott at the time this article went to press.

According to our Cisco source, it's no surprise that Abbott made the jump across the pond to work with Nuti again. Nuti apparently took a mentoring role with Abbott, and the pair worked together closely while at Cisco.

But why leave Cisco to join Symbol? "I compare Symbol with Cisco in the early days -- very aggressive, very hungry, and very innovative," Nuti told us back in July. Apparently he has convinced at least one other former colleague that this is the case.

Whatever the reason, the move must have Symbol management beaming from ear to ear. The company is increasingly positioning itself against Cisco in the wireless LAN networking market, with new systems aimed at Cisco's core enterprise market, as well as the industrial and retail sectors that Symbol traditionally serves.

Abbott's responsibilities at Cisco are currently being handled by Rob Lloyd, president EMEA at Cisco.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com and — Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
deepciscothroat 12/4/2012 | 9:29:47 PM
re: Symbol's Cisco Snatch Todd was a competent sales guy at Cisco riding Nuti's coattails. Let's see how these guys do with John Chambers coattails to ridge....
noitall 12/4/2012 | 9:29:46 PM
re: Symbol's Cisco Snatch CW:

Who are you kidding? Abbott and Nuti both were big losses to CSCO. You hated to lose them. And now that they've left, the floodgates are open. You lost three more good sales guys to another startup recently and you know who they are (no this group didn't go to Tahoe--another guy did but not the group I'm referring to). Now why would anyone leave CSCO for startups in this market where liquidity events are scarce?

And Nuti and Abbott didn't leave because Symbol is the second coming of CSCO. They left because they were tired of lying to their customers about CSCO's "vision." Fact is, they knew the company had NO vision. Nuti wasn't shy about this. He practically held a press conference decrying their "missed opportunities." They were tired of force feeding old technology to customers that solved only short term needs. Their customers were looking for business partners vs. vendors.

I'm buying Symbol stock. Those guys are quite good. Remember, you bet on the jockeys, not the horses.

CW: you're just a vendor now. You've lost the "solutions" mentality that made you great. If you treated carriers the way you have enterprise I/T people--like business partners--you'd be better off in this business.
deepciscothroat 12/4/2012 | 9:29:45 PM
re: Symbol's Cisco Snatch Bluetooth

while I, sadly, agree with the loss of focus and solutions vision, I am not as sanguine about the world-beater phenomenom -- too much energy in the technology industry is focused on the stupid cult of personality.

I agree Nuti, and to a lesser extent, Abbott, were good salesman (and they are pretty good guys to work with), they were riding a brand and product machine that now one could touch. No one. So the issue is you need all pieces: product/technology, marketing/sales, support clicking on all cylinders to be a world-beater. Remember our sales guys had the start-up world as their part shop and could SATISFY THE NEED OF ANY carrier in the world for packet technologies. To sum it up, they had the "Magnificent Seven" working for them:

1. Volpi filling the acquistion pipeline
2. Listwin creating the buzz
3. Chambers sweetening the customers
4. Morgridge setting the tone
5. Mario and Prem executing the product plan
6 Pinto playing fireman to critical accounts
7 Wall Street bolstering the brand

Symbol is a fine company -- especially in this market -- but let's see how Mssrs. Abbott and Nuti do out on their own, rather than riding the Cisco machine. They cut their stripes with

joset01 12/4/2012 | 9:29:44 PM
re: Symbol's Cisco Snatch Hey NTBTF
Care to share some details about the group that have moved to another startup, so I can check out the details. We can do this offline if you like, ping me on [email protected] or call 212-925-0020-x115.

Operators are standing by waiting for your call :-)

noitall 12/4/2012 | 9:29:40 PM
re: Symbol's Cisco Snatch Dan, sorry. It wouldn't be appropriate to expose them or the companies at this stage. Why wake the sleeping giant? They are not senior level executives anyway so there's no story here.

It doesn't really matter where they went, anyway. The point simply was that there is an ongoing exodus of good sales people out of Cisco. Noteworthy is just that conventional wisdom would suggest that right now is not a good time to join startups. Why should people do that when they can work in the relative security of Cisco? See my earlier post for my take on the situation.
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