Cisco hires former CTO at struggling Motorola as its CTO

Cisco hires as CTO Padmasree Warrior, who resigned from struggling Motorola this week.

Padmasree Warrior, who resigned as Motorola's chief technology officer on Monday, will take on the same job at Cisco, the networking vendor announced Tuesday.

Warrior will become Cisco's first CTO since Charles Giancarlo traded the title for chief development officer in 2005 in a broad management reorganization. Cisco has not disclosed when she will start the new job. Warrior, 47, will report to Chairman and CEO John Chambers.

The move takes Warrior from a struggling maker of consumer and enterprise mobile products to a company that dominates several markets and is rapidly expanding into others. Her departure from Motorola came just days after CEO Ed Zander was replaced amid falling sales and profit. He is set to leave the company at year's end.

At Cisco, Warrior's job will be to further detail the company's technology strategy and to identify new opportunities and the partnerships that may be needed to take advantage of them, Warrior said in an interview Tuesday.

"There is no dearth of opportunity for a company like Cisco to grow into," Warrior said. "One of the first things we will have to work on its prioritizing the opportunities."

Her diverse experience will help in crafting a vision for Cisco, Warrior said. At Motorola, she has held leadership roles in the semiconductor and energy systems groups, and she has also worked in software, services and applications, she said. She has master's degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology. Having come from India will help her deal with the key issues of globalization for identifying talent and developing markets, she said.

In hiring Warrior, Cisco has tapped one of its key rivals for the future of on-demand mobility, said Forrester analyst Chris Silva. Cisco, Motorola and Nortel Networks are at the forefront of this trend, all grappling with the intersection of Wi-Fi, WiMAX and cellular infrastructure.

* What does Cisco gain from hiring a former CTO from a struggling technology company? Read the opinion of Cisco Subnet blogger "Brad Reese on Cisco" about the appointment and join in on the debate here. 

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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