Cisco exec churn: Enterprise chief Soderbery out

Cisco’s Soderbery was head of enterprise group, SVP Jeff Reed will oversee group now

Cisco exec churn: Enterprise chief Soderbery out

The Cisco executive wheels keep churning. Today the person in charge of Cisco’s enterprise engineering organizations, Robert Soderbery, said he has left the company via a post on LinkedIn.

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Soderbery wrote: “It has been a fascinating time to be at Cisco and there are many experiences I take away with me. It was an incredibly diverse set of challenges, from the incessant battle with the likes of HP and Huawei for market share, to creating new products, businesses and even markets. My colleagues and I were fortunate to be early movers in IoT and the digital transition, which led to new businesses in new industries for Cisco; manufacturing, transportation, utilities and smart cities. In October of 2012 I met the Meraki [a company Cisco acquired in 2012] founding team and realized that the amazing company they built, when combined with the power of Cisco, would be something very special, which indeed turned out to be true. And of course the more recent work in networking innovation with Cisco Digital Network Architecture, and driving the transition to a software centric architecture has been exciting and transformative.”

Soderbery said he has no current plans and Cisco said of his departure: “We thank Rob for his important role helping Cisco identify Enterprise needs and address them with world-class networking products and solutions, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

The writing may have been on the wall for Soderbery who oversaw enterprise routing and switching, which didn’t fare well in the company’s recently announced results.

In addition the company’s core enterprise business has been slowly transitioning to new products and directions like its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric as well as its Digital Network Architecture (DNA).

Network World wrote of the significance of the DNA announcement earlier this year: Cisco’s DNA is a blueprint for building an enterprise network with virtualization, automation, analytics, cloud service management and programmability for ease of operation and management. It is delivered through Cisco ONE software licensing on a variety of Cisco platforms, and is anchored by the company’s APIC-Enterprise Module SDN controller, which has been slow to emerge from development and trials.

As customers digitize their business operations "it's imperative to start this transition" to the DNA architecture, Soderbery said at the time.

Soderbery’s move is also seen as the ongoing executive team still being crafted by CEO Chuck Robbins who has held the job for over a year now.

In June, four Cisco executives who led “spin-in” ventures that became important parts of the company have resigned. The Engineers Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain and Luca Cafiero, and marketer Soni Jiandani, nicknamed “MPLS” left the company because of “a disconnect regarding roles, responsibilities and charter” after a new Cisco business unit was announced, according to an internal memo posted Monday by CEO Chuck Robbins and reported by IDG News Service.

The four resigned after Cisco announced the formation of the Networking & Security Business Group, which will handle engineering for routing, switching and security products, the memo said. David Goeckeler leads that group and Jeff Reed Senior Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions is now running the Enterprise Networking group, Cisco stated.

In March another big name executive left as well -- 18-year veteran and Service Provider leader Kelly Ahuja.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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