Cisco Streamlines Executive Management Team

CTO Padmasree Warrior will assume more duties as Chief Strategy Officer Ned Hooper leaves the company after 13 years.

Cisco Systems is streamlining its upper management, giving CTO Padmasree Warrior more duties and saying goodbye to Ned Hooper, the chief strategy officer who oversaw some of the key acquisitions for the networking giant over the past few years.

In addition, Pankaj Patel, senior vice president of engineering, will assume control over Cisco€™s engineering group, a job that he and Warrior had shared.

The changes are part of the company€™s ongoing restructuring that began in 2011, according to a June 26 blog post by CEO John Chamber and COO Gary Moore.

€œOver the past year, we have refocused our engineering organization for agility, better decision making and a renewed focus on innovation,€ Chambers and Moore wrote. €œThe market share numbers speak for themselves and our customer confidence has never been stronger. We have a strong leadership team and the business group leaders have demonstrated strong execution. Now the time is right for us to drive the next phase of our organizational evolution.€

The 45-year-old Hooper had been with Cisco for 13 years, reaching the senior vice president level and becoming the company€™s chief strategist. He led the efforts in several significant acquisitions, including the $2.9 billion acquisition of WebEx in 2007, $3.3 billion purchase of telepresence rival Tandberg in 2010 and the current bid to buy NDS Group for $5 billion.

Hooper also ran Cisco€™s $2 billion investment unit, which included the company€™s €œspin-in€ strategy of funding new startups run by Cisco engineers and, if the technology worked well, buying the new company. Cisco most recently is using that strategy with a new company called Insieme, which is being started by three Cisco engineers and will develop products for software-defined networking environments.

Hooper is leaving to form a new investment company, something he and Cisco officials have been working on for several months, according to Chambers.

€œWe look forward to partnering with him in his new endeavor,€ the CEO wrote.

Warrior, 51, will now be Cisco€™s chief technology and strategy officer, and the strategy and business development teams that had reported to Hooper will now report to Warrior.

€œOver the past four years, Padma has established a tremendous track record of results, such as building Cisco€™s strategy and execution around architectures, cloud, overall technology strategy framework, and attracting and developing industry-leading technical talent,€ Chambers wrote. €œWe look forward to accelerating our market position under Padma€™s strategic direction.€

Patel has been key in building up Cisco€™s service-provider business, which includes selling networking and mobility products to Internet providers and telecommunications firms.

In a research note, Brian Marshall, an analyst with ISI Group, said the latest moves were Cisco€™s continuing efforts to €œstreamline the organization and consolidating responsibility for engineering, technology vision and strategy with two executives rather than three previously. While we favor stability in the leadership ranks, we do not believe these changes were motivated by new execution, competitive challenges or strategic shifts."

Chambers began restructuring the company last year after several disappointing financial quarters fueled, in part by rapid expansion into new areas, including consumer, over the previous couple of years and by growing competition from the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks and Huawei Technologies.

The restructuring included shuttering businesses€”including the profitable Flip video camera€”and cutting as many as 6,500 jobs.