So it is clear that as Chief Development Officer, Giancarlo played a key role in driving Ciscoï¿¼s technical advances and helped the company determine what areas to focus on and how to position its products against competitors. Rather than replace him with one person, the company formed a Development Council, comprised of seven key technology leaders, who will oversee Cisco's development efforts and report directly to Chairman and CEO John Chambers. Whether this group will be as effective as Giancarlo was will become clear in the next year or two.
Giancarloï¿¼s move was only a minor surprise. Earlier this year, Chambers indicated that he plans to hold his position as CEO for another five years. Giancarlo, who turned 50 this year, then decided it was time for him to move on and try and find his own company to run. The pool of potential candidates to succeed Chambers now includes Kathy Hill, senior vice president for the Access Networking and Services Group; Ned Hooper, senior vice president of the Consumer and Small Business Group; Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president of the Data Center, Switching, and Services Group; Don Proctor, senior vice president of the Software Group; Tony Bates, who heads up the Service Provider Technology Group; Marthin DeBeer, who is in charge of the Emerging Technologies Group; and Senior Vice President Pankaj Patel. None of them seem to be the clear favorite, so jockeying for that position will occur in the next 12 to 24 months.
Giancarlo, 50, started his new job as managing director and partner at Silver Lake, an investment firm focused on large-scale technology investments in technology this week. Chances are that he may use that position to identify a start-up that he would like to run himself.
His departure is seen as a major loss of Cisco. Throughout its history, the company has weathered many storms. As the new year begins, the company finds itself with new challenges, ones it will need to address in order to continue serving small and medium companies.
Does the executive turnover impact your perception of Cisco? What do you see as the pluses and minuses of such changes at established companies, like Cisco?