Cisco senior vice president Tony Bates has left the network equipment maker to become chief executive of Skype, which is preparing for an initial public offering.
Skype, a provider of Internet-based video calling and telephone service, announced Monday that Bates had been named CEO shortly after Cisco said on the company's blog that he had left to "pursue another opportunity." Bates who was senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Enterprise, Commercial and Small Business Development Group, had worked at Cisco for nearly 15 years.
Bates is scheduled to take over as Skype CEO at the end of October. He will replace John Silverman, who was named CEO in March 2008 and is stepping down immediately. Adrian Dillon, chief financial and administrative officer, will serve as interim CEO until Bates takes over.
According to Skype, Bates was responsible at Cisco for more than $20 billion of annual revenue and managed more than 12,500 employees worldwide. As senior executive reporting directly to Cisco CEO John Chambers, Bates worked with other senior staff in charting Cisco's global strategy.
"We are thrilled to bring on Tony Bates as Skype's new CEO," Miles Flint, board chairman of Skype, said. "His record of achievement and significant operational and management expertise, cultivated over a distinguished tenure at one of the world's preeminent technology companies, presents a unique opportunity for Skype that we are enthusiastic to embrace."
In a joint announcement with Flint, Bates said he was joining a "global technology leader in Internet communications."
"There are extraordinary opportunities ahead for Skype and I am eager to lead the company through this exciting juncture in its continuing transformation," he said.
At one time, Skype was seen as a potential acquisition target of Cisco. However, Skype's announcement late last month that it had entered a strategic partnership with Avaya served to scotch those reports. The partnership is aimed at boosting the company's business communications through a closer collaboration of their respective services.
Skype announced about two months ago that it was planning an IPO. While a date has not been set, the company has been working to beef up its paid services, particularly in the business market. Skype has nearly 600 million registered users, with the vast majority calling each other free-of-charge.
Skype, which was owned by eBay for years, began to generate some revenue by charging about 2.5 cents a minute for its SkypeOut feature. Another service called SkypeIn enables subscribers to pay a small fee to receive Skype calls.
At Cisco, Bates is being replaced by Padmasree Warrior, who will take on Bates' responsibilities while also retaining the title of chief technical officer, according to the company's blog. Warrior has been with the company since 2007.
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