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NFV (Network functions virtualization)

Service Providers Keep Their Place in the Cisco Game of Thrones

While Cisco's service provider business is getting a new boss -- and that person is getting a new boss -- it's keeping its place in the company chain of command.

Since Chuck Robbins was named CEO a year ago, replacing longtime company head John Chambers, upper management has been churning. (See 2 Cisco Presidents Quit, Cisco Brings in New Blood for Tech Leadership and more down lower in this article.)

In all the confusion, we lost track of one important point: Kelly Ahuja, who headed up Cisco's service provider business for 18 years, announced his departure in March. But when is his last day? We found out this week it's the end of Cisco's fiscal year, which is July 30. (See Cisco's Ahuja Staying On – But Not for Long.)

Next unanswered question: What happens to the service provider business unit in the shuffle? Does it lose or gain importance in the company?

Now we have an answer to that too. It stays the same, at least in terms of degrees of separation from the CEO.

When Cisco announced Ahuja's departure in March, the company named Yvette Kanouff, previously head of cloud, to a new business unit combining cloud, video, NFV and mobile into a single service provider business unit.

Kanouff will report to David Goeckeler, previously head of the security business unit, named this week to head the Networking and Security Business. Goeckeler reports to Robbins, the CEO. That was part of another significant upper management exit, involving Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero, and Soni Jiandani, the so-called "MPLS" team who pioneered Cisco's Nexus 9000, SDN, and "spin in" strategies. (See Cisco's 'Spin In' Innovation Team Spins Out.)


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Previously, Ahuja reported to Pankaj Patel, executive vice president and chief development officer, who reports to the CEO. Patel announced his resignation in January, effective in the second half of 2016. (See Cisco EVP Development Patel Says Sayonara.)

So the new chain of command for the service provider business is the same as it was, in terms of levels of removal from the top, a Cisco spokesman notes. The head of the service provider business (formerly Ahuja, now Kanouff heading a bigger business unit that includes SP), reports to somebody else (formerly Patel, now Goeckeler), who reports to the CEO.

Ow my head.

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.

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