It's a homecoming for the software expert, who joined Cisco in 1991 and went through stints at Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), and Procket Networks, leaving Procket early this year for semi-retirement. Having Li on the team is no small potatoes; in fact, his presence at Procket helped propel that company to stardom above a stack of failed router startups (see Procket Processes a Dream Team and Li Finally Quits Procket).
Rumors started to swirl late Tuesday on Light Reading's message boards. Li, previously a very prolific poster on the boards, had not been heard from in some time. Some readers speculated that a new contract with Cisco forbids him from posting on the boards.
Mike Volpi, senior vice president of Cisco's routing division, confirmed that Li is now a Cisco employee, but Volpi said he is not prohibited from posting to message boards. Li is forbidden from leaking confidential information, says Volpi.
Volpi explained it this way: "Tony's a very digital thinker. If you tell him not to talk about the things he's not supposed to talk about -- he stops talking. But that's a Tony issue, not a Cisco issue."
The hiring brings Li back to the company he left in dramatic fashion. The story goes that Li nailed his resignation to his boss's door; Li won't confirm details but admits it wasn't his best moment (see New Kid on the Cisco/Juniper Block and Tony Li).
On a side note, it turns out there are now two employees at Cisco named Tony Li. One can only speculate whether the "other" Tony Li has gotten a voicemail box full of misdirected messages from well-wishers.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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