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Cisco's new leadership team is...

Our guesses as to who will help guide company under new CEO Robbins

So now that CTO/strategy chief Padma Warrior will reportedly leave Cisco along with Presidents Lloyd and Moore at the end of the company’s fiscal year, who will be left to man Chuck Robbins’ new leadership team? That roster should be filled by June 11 when CEO-in-waiting Chuck Robbins is expected to name his new executive leadership lineup.

Robbins assumes the reins from 20-year Cisco CEO John Chambers on July 26. Robbins’ ascension has already cast off Lloyd, Moore and perhaps Warrior.

Given his background and immersion in sales – like Chambers and Lloyd, and that he has already tapped new worldwide sales chief Chris Dedicoat to his executive team -- here are our guesses on who would make up the remainder of Robbins' team:

  • Pankaj Patel – Patel is Cisco’s chief development officer and much more a CTO/strategy chief than Warrior, who was mostly a marketing figurehead. He heads engineering and spearheaded the re-engineering of the department last fall to better align operations with customer demands. His retention for Robbins’ leadership team seems like a no-brainer;
  • Rebecca Jacoby – Jacoby is Cisco’s CIO and has first line input into how the company’s products work and what should be developed. She is a high visibility pitch woman for Cisco products and solutions based on her department's own use of and insight into them. Some believe she could succeed Moore as Cisco’s next COO;
  • Edzard Overbeek – You can’t sell sophisticated Cisco architectures without layers of consultation and professional integration services wrapped around them. Services account for 30% of Cisco’s revenue and are an increasingly important component of product and overall sales. Chambers said software and services would make up a higher percentage of Cisco’s revenue and Robbins is expected to keep that promise. Overbeek may be looking for greener pastures though as he may have been passed over for the CEO slot;
  • Rob Soderbery – Soderbery is senior vice president of enterprise products and solutions, responsible for enterprise sales of solutions produced by Patel’s development organization. Enterprise remains Cisco’s bread-and-butter, and Soderbery is also responsible for the company’s Internet of Things and Cloud Networking groups, the latter of which is based on the multi-billion dollar Meraki acquisition. Soderbery reports to Patel but he undoubtedly has Robbins' attention as well;
  • Kelly Ahuja – Ahuja is Soderbery’s counterpart on the service provider side. Indeed, Ahuja IS Cisco’s service provider business, having developed and driven the company’s routing, optical, mobility, video and cloud product and technology strategies. That includes the acquisition of Starent, the foundation of Cisco’s Mobile Internet Technology group. With cloud, mobility, video and other off-premises infrastructure and services becoming more important to enterprises, product sales to service providers become even more important.

There's also speculation that, with Chambers leaving, Cisco's star development team of Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero and Soni Jiandani-- "MPLS" -- have done their last spin-in. That, of course, is the Insieme Networks business unit, developer of the Nexus 9000 switch line and Application Centric Infrastructure fabric, Cisco's response to software-defined networking.

Some or all of MPLS may leave Cisco by the end of the company's current fiscal year, which is July 25, or the calendar year. Stay tuned...

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