Cisco defectors

A round-up of recent and not so recent departures by Cisco executives and where they landed

Cisco's leadership at the top, namely John Chambers , has been as steady as it comes. He became CEO in 1995 and took over as chairman in 2006. But the rest of the executive team has had its share of change over the years, from those who might have hit a ceiling at Cisco to those who wanted to recharge their batteries at start-ups. Here's a look at where some high profile Cisco alums have gone.

Related stories:

Cisco pedigree wins over VCs

Charlie Giancarlo

Charlie Giancarlo: Perhaps the highest level executive to leave Cisco in recent years, Giancarlo was considered an heir apparent to CEO John Chambers. But Giancarlo left Cisco two years ago after 14 years at the company to join private equity firm Silver Lake. At Cisco, Giancarlo, who had been executive vice president and chief development officer, was instrumental to the company's success in Ethernet switching, consumer business and in technology direction.

Mike Volpi

Mike Volpi: He was also considered to be in line as a potential successor to Chambers. During his 13-year tenure at Cisco, Volpi helped spearhead Cisco's acquisition strategy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He left the company as senior vice president of Cisco's routing and service provider technology group over two years ago to join Joost, an Internet video start-up. Things unraveled recently though, as Volpi was removed as Joost CEO and the company abandoned its initial business plan. Volpi then became embroiled in litigation with Joost and Skype cofounders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis over majority ownership of Skype, which was being sold by eBay. A series of revealing e-mails involving Volpi's involvement in the Skype dealings emerged and he and his investment group were ultimately left out of the sale.

Jayshree Ullal

Jayshree Ullal: A 15-year Cisco veteran, Ullal was senior vice president of data center, switching and services when she left the company 18 months ago . She landed as CEO of data center switching start-up Arista Networks which makes high-density, low priced 10G switches with extensible operating system software. Ullal, who came to Cisco with the 1993 acquisition of switching start-up Crescendo Networks, left the company as it was making the transition from networking hardware to IT software and hardware.

Doug Dennerline

Doug Dennerline: As chief of Cisco collaboration software group, Dennerline was responsible for directing collaboration and software-as-a-service strategy, which revolved largely around WebEx. Dennerline left over the summer and is now heading up enterprise sales for the Americas at .

Carl Russo

Carl Russo: He was CEO of optical transport company Cerent when Cisco bought it for $7 billion in 1999, its largest acquisition along with Scientific-Atlanta. When the acquisition closed, Russo headed all of Cisco's optical business but reported to Ullal, a hierarchy that observers noted was not likely to last long . Russo left to head Calix in 2002 and Cisco's optical business has been in decline ever since.

Bill Nuti

Bill Nuti: A 10-year Cisco veteran, Nuti left the company in 2002 as its worldwide service provider operations chief to head up Symbol Technologies, a developer of mobile data transaction systems. The move would open up big doors for Nuti: he left Symbol in 2005 after resurrecting the company from an accounting scandal to become CEO of NCR; Symbol, meanwhile, was sold to Motorola in 2006 for $4 billion.

Jonathan Rosenberg

Jonathan Rosenberg: The most recent defection, Rosenberg is credited with co-authoring the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for VoIP networks while at Cisco, where he was a Cisco Fellow in the Voice Technology Group. He left earlier this month to become chief technology strategist at Skype , a position for which he was "recommended" by ex-Cisco/Joost exec Mike Volpi .

Judy Lin

Judy Lin: She left earlier this year to go to smart grid company Silver Spring Networks . She served only a year-long stint at Cisco as senior vice president of the company's Ethernet switching technology group, coming over from security titan VeriSign. At Cisco, Lin was responsible mostly for the low-end Catalyst 3000 and 2000 series switches. At Silver Spring, Lin is chief product officer.

Tim Olson and Pejman Roshan

Tim Olson and Pejman Roshan: The founders of Agito Networks, a maker of fixed mobile convergence products, started at Cisco when their respective companies were acquired in 2000 – JetCell and Aironet. JetCell was a wireless start-up that developed a GSM Base Station capable of providing GSM cellular service with a VoIP backend; Aironet made wireless LAN access points and adapters, and propelled Cisco into WLAN leadership. Both were high-ranking officials in Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit when they started Agito in 2006 .

Mark Cree

Mark Cree: A high-speed storage connectivity specialist, Cree joined Cisco with its acquisition of NuSpeed in 2000. NuSpeed made SAN-to-IP connectivity products using the iSCSI protocol. Cree's new company, Storspeed , develops a caching product that accelerates access to frequently needed data. It was founded in 2007.

Anson Chen

Anson Chen: a 22-year industry veteran and former vice president and general manager of Cisco's Network Management and Services Technology Group, Chen founded Bada Networks , a developer of software that manages, routes and processes thousands of real-time video streams. Bada was founded in 2002 in Santa Clara, Calif., and is promoting the concept of "visual networking," in which anyone – from consumers to business executives – can instantly talk, see and share content at the same time with a few people or thousands of colleagues or friends, whether mobile or at a fixed location. Cisco is also a big backer of the visual networking concept so Chen might end up back at Cisco.

Related stories:

Cisco subnet, Network World's independent Cisco community

Cisco pedigree wins over VCs

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.