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Skype Snares CEO From Cisco's Ranks

Tony Bates, head of enterprise businesses at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), is leaving the company to take over at Skype Ltd.

Bates will even move to Skype's headquarters in Luxembourg, according to TechCrunch, which had earlier broken the story of Skype CEO Josh Silverman stepping down.

Skype has spun out of eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) and is awaiting an IPO, papers for which were filed in August. An acquisition by Cisco has even been suggested, although the idea has its skeptics. (See Former eBay CEO Defends Skype Buy, Skype Dials Into a Public Future , and Could Cisco Flip for Skype?)

The appointment of a new CEO brings Skype another step closer to its public future. The company has been the VoIP success story on the PC and is growing its mobile business rapidly enough to earn itself a nod as a near-miss for Light Reading's Leading Lights award in the best new mobile app category. (See Leading Lights: Mobile Services/Apps Finalists.)

According to Skype's latest stats, it will pass $1 billion in revenues next year, TechCrunch says. As a public company, it would be charged with converting its mostly free user base to paying subscribers and bringing in additional revenue streams from premium services like group video chat, advertising, and adding more wireless operator partners. (See Verizon Wireless Gets Skype and What's AT&T Getting From Skype?.)

Cisco announced Bates's departure early this morning in a corporate blog entry, saying chief technical officer Padmasree Warrior will be taking his place running Cisco's Enterprise, Commercial, and Small Business Development Group.

Before taking over the enterprise group around 2009, Bates ran Cisco's service provider business, first alone (starting in 2004), then in tandem with senior vice president Pankaj Patel (starting in 2007). Those positions made him caretaker of the CRS-1 core router -- Cisco's pride and joy circa 2004 -- and Network Commander in charge of launching the ASR9000 edge router in 2006. Bates even got to dress up for the part. (See Cisco Reorgs, Names Giancarlo CTO, Cisco Reorganizes Telco Team, and Cisco's Service Provider Boss: Pankaj Patel, and Cisco Games the ASR.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading and Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:22:03 PM
re: Skype Snares CEO From Cisco's Ranks

It's been a gradual exodus out of Cisco (Volpi, Giancarlo, Ullal, etc.) but it continues.


Interesting that they didn't backfill Bates with someone besides Warrior.


Interesting, separately, that Skype wants a CEO from the enterprise world, not the retail/consumer one.

brtechy 12/5/2012 | 4:21:59 PM
re: Skype Snares CEO From Cisco's Ranks

Interesting as well that Skype looked for a "product" person inside an Enterprise company, and not a services executive. Obviously it is all tech, but the differences can be subtle, as Cisco is not known as a services powerhouse.


 

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:21:58 PM
re: Skype Snares CEO From Cisco's Ranks

Hadn't thought of that. Good point.


Also, analyst Nick Lippis has pointed out something I'd missed -- Charlie Giancarlo went from Cisco to Silver Lake.  Maybe he had a role in bringing Bates to their attention.

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:21:50 PM
re: Skype Snares CEO From Cisco's Ranks

I saw Silverman in action in June -- I thought he was going to try to sell me a used car.


http://www.lightreading.com/blog.asp?blog_sectionid=752&doc_id=193200 


 


Let's see if the new CEO can act like a leader who commands respect.

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