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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

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