Juniper Raids Cisco, Microsoft Executive Ranks

Over a three-day period, Juniper Networks announced that two former Microsoft executives and one from Cisco were joining the company's marketing and global partner efforts.

Juniper Networks is bulking up its marketing and channel prowess by raiding the executive ranks of rivals Cisco Systems and Microsoft.

Juniper last week announced that two former Microsoft officials made the jump to help the networking company build up its enterprise marketing and global partnership capabilities. In between those announcements, Juniper officials said a Cisco executive is making the move to oversee Juniper's worldwide partner marketing.

The moves come as Juniper pushes its "Project Stratus" strategy to use silicon, virtualization and automation to collapse the data center networking infrastructure from three tiers into one. The appointments also represent the latest in a series of executive exits from Microsoft.

Juniper announced Jan. 19 that Brad Brooks, who was corporate vice president for Windows consumer marketing and product management, was named vice president of worldwide enterprise marketing and solutions at Juniper, reporting to Lauren Flaherty, executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

According to Juniper, Brooks will be responsible for creating and executing marketing strategies for the networking company's enterprise business. He also will be responsible for Juniper's enterprise go-to-market strategies, as well as road maps for the company's vertical and horizontal offerings.

While at Microsoft, Brooks oversaw the consumer segment for the Windows client, including the Windows 7 launch.

"Brad is a superb global marketer with a track record of driving significant business growth," Flaherty said in a statement. "His depth of experience aligns very well with our focus on accelerating the new network and I am thrilled we have Brad in this highly strategic role."

Two days later, Juniper announced that Emilio Umeoka, who was president of Microsoft's Asia Pacific business, will serve as Juniper's senior vice president of worldwide partners business. In his new role, Umeoka will be responsible for Juniper's global channel strategy and partner initiatives, which company officials believe is a key differentiator over their competitors.

On the day in between those two appointments, Juniper announced the hiring of Luanne Tierney as vice president of global partner marketing, the defection of a key executive from rival Cisco. Prior to coming to Juniper, Tierney was vice president of global partner marketing at Cisco.

With Juniper, Tierney will be in charge of pushing forward the company's Juniper Partner Program, making it more comprehensive and easier to use by its global partners and global partner marketing operation. At Cisco, Tierney was in charge of strategic initiatives for the company's more than 13,000 partners, distributors, resellers and strategic partners.

"[Tierney's] innovative approach to marketing and her ability to inspire will help Juniper accelerate our profile as an industry and thought leader," Juniper's Flaherty said.

Microsoft has seen a fairly significant executive turnover over the past year, most recently the Jan. 10 announcement that Bob Muglia, president of the software giant's Server and Tools Business, is leaving the company this summer after more than two decades with Microsoft.

In a Jan. 10 e-mail to employees, CEO Steve Ballmer positioned Muglia's resignation as a necessary move as the company pushes forward with its cloud computing strategy.

Last year, Microsoft saw a host of executives leave, including Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie in October. A month before, Stephen Elop, Microsoft's Business Division president, left to become CEO of Nokia. Earlier in the year, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, and the segment's senior vice president of design and development, J Allard, both left, reportedly thanks in large part to the failure of Microsoft's Kin social networking phones.

For Juniper, the appointments represent the latest moves in its ongoing competition with the likes of Cisco and Hewlett-Packard as the network continues to grow in status in the data center. Project Stratus is one of a number of initiatives being put out by vendors to address the rise of the virtual data center and rapid growth of Internet traffic running over the networks. Cisco, Brocade Communications Systems, Force 10, Enterasys and others also have outlined plans, while HP made a significant step forward with its acquisition last year of 3Com.