Cisco Names New Linksys GM

The networking company names former Polaroid CEO Michael Pocock to head up Linksys as Cisco looks to expand its consumer products division's market presence.

Cisco Systems is continuing the overhaul of its Linksys consumer products division, naming Michael Pocock as the groups new senior vice president and general manager in a news release on May 11.

Pocock, a former chief executive at Polaroid, has already stepped in for Victor and Janie Tsao, who founded Linksys before it was purchased by Cisco in 2003 and have shared the general manager role since the acquisition.

Cisco said the two executives will now turn their efforts toward exploring business opportunities for the networking giant in China.

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As general manager, Pocock will oversee nearly all of Linksys worldwide operations, including sales, marketing, customer service and product development. He will report to Charles Giancarlo, Ciscos chief development officer and Linksys president.

Cisco said Pocock was selected in large part for his experience in leading Polaroids push into the consumer electronics market, as he successfully led the companys move to begin selling portable DVD players, MP3 players and plasma TVs. Polaroid is now considered one of the leading providers of portable DVD players worldwide.

Cisco has been pushing hard to expand Linksys footprint beyond the home networking space, with an emphasis on increasing its own presence in the consumer device market.

The company purchased set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta for just under $7 billion in 2005 and bought out Kiss Technologies, which makes DVD players that also support a wide variety of other multimedia formats and connect to computer networks.

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"This is an ideal time to have Michael Pocock join Linksys; his experience and leadership in the consumer space will help take Cisco to the next level in the global home networking market," Giancarlo said in a statement.

"We were privileged to have the founders of Linksys, Janie and Victor Tsao, on our leadership team as we made great strides in the innovation of home networking over the past few years. Now we have the opportunity to leverage their entrepreneurial talent in a new business capacity as they transition to business development roles in China," Giancarlo said.

Prior to working at Polaroid, Pocock served in leadership roles at Xerox, Epson, Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and General Electric. Cisco said Janie and Victor Tsao will remain involved with operations during Pococks transition and will also continue to serve as business consultants to Linksys.

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