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Is Mario Mazzola stepping back into his old Cisco job?

Coming full circle is Cisco's legendary Mario Mazzola (why is he 'legendary'?) the company's former development chief before Charlie Giancarlo. Mazzola is returning to Cisco via the network giant's planned acquisition of Nuova, which was co-founded by Mazzola and five other former Cisco execs. Cisco acquired an 80% stake in Nuova back in August 2006 and on Tuesday, Cisco said it would buy the remaining 20%. The acquisition plan was announced as Cisco unveiled Nexus 5000, a top of rack switch and sibling to Cisco's recently launched big Nexus 7000 switch

According to a story by Network World's Jim Duffy, all six founders and the company's approximately 200 employees in San Jose and in Beaverton, Ore., are expected to join Cisco to continue working on data center-related projects. Nuova will operate as an independent business unit led by Nuova co-founders Luca Cafiero, Prem Soni Jain and Mazzola, who will all report to Cisco CEO John Chambers.

The return of Mazzola (and last year's exiting of Giancarlo) throws up some interesting questions:

* Does Mazzola have a chance to become a successor to Chambers - would he want that?

* Would Cisco make a bigger role for him and if so, what would that mean to MIA Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior?

More about the Nexus 5000 here.

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