Three Cisco Execs Out as New CEO Sets Team

Dow Jones Newswires

Cisco Systems Inc.'s next chief executive is moving quickly to reshape the networking giant's top management ranks, choosing a smaller leadership team that excludes longtime strategist Padmasree Warrior and two other well-known executives.

The three senior managers, including Edzard Overbeek and Wim Elfrink, plan to leave the company, Cisco said. Ms. Warrior would remain as an adviser through September, while Mr. Overbeek would remain in an advisory role for a year, Cisco said.

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Chuck Robbins, named last month to succeed longtime CEO John Chambers, picked a 10-member executive team made up of five male and five female members. The top management group at the company previously had 13 members, of which five were women, the company said.

The changes follow the announcement Monday that two presidents, Rob Lloyd and Gary Moore, planned to leave the company.

Mr. Robbins, who is 49 years old and will take on the CEO role in late July, wants to install a younger generation of executives who can lead the company for some time, a Cisco spokesman said. Mr. Chambers turned 65 in August, the same age as Mr. Moore. Mr. Lloyd, 58, had been considered a front-runner to succeed Mr. Chambers.

Mr. Robbins has also expressed a desire for a flatter organizational structure that could make decisions more quickly. With the elimination of the president positions, more managers who lead operations at the company will report directly to him.

"We have been developing and attracting our next generation of leaders for many years, and I'm confident that this team is ready to lead Cisco's next chapter," Mr. Robbins wrote in a blog post.

Some members of Mr. Robbins' new inner circle are, like the incoming CEO himself, company veterans. But the appointments Thursday included a new chief of staff, Ruba Borno, who is joining Cisco from Boston Consulting Group. Ms. Borno, who is 34, earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. She will hold the title vice president of growth initiatives.

Other appointments, Cisco said, include Hilton Romanski, 42, a former mergers-and-acquisitions specialist at Cisco who will serve as chief technology and strategy officer; Joe Cozzolino, 50, a senior vice president who is being promoted to lead Cisco's services organization; Pankaj Patel, 61, an executive vice president and chief development officer who will continue to run Cisco's engineering operations; Rebecca Jacoby, 53, who has served as chief information officer and is being named senior vice president of operations; and Francine Katsoudas, 44, a human resources specialists who will hold the title chief people officer.

Mr. Robbins, in the blog post, said he planned to look outside the company to fill several key jobs to build Cisco's position in new markets. "I am also committed to adding even more diversity of thought and experience over time, constantly strengthening both our bench and our decision making," he wrote.

Ms. Warrior, 54, joined Cisco in 2008 from Motorola Inc. and served as the company's chief technology and strategy officer. She was one of the most prominent female executives to hold a senior technical position in Silicon Valley, and she frequently speaks at industry events.

Re/Code reported Monday that Ms. Warrior would be leaving the company. She couldn't be reached for comment.

Mr. Overbeek, 48, has been serving as senior vice president of services.

Mr. Elfrink, 63, would retire effective July 25, Cisco said. He held the title executive vice president for industry solutions and chief globalization officer.

Neither could be reached for comment.

Cisco disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday that the two departing presidents had entered into separation agreements that include a series of financial benefits including cash payments of $2,200,000 for Mr. Lloyd and $2,268,750 for Mr. Moore.