Networking gear-maker Extreme Networks (Nasdaq: EXTR) has turned its RTP-based research and development operation into the center of the company’s global engineering efforts.

The change began with the June appointment of Gavin Cato as Extreme’s vice president of engineering. Cato is veteran of several companies with Triangle presences, and holds an doctorate from N.C. State University and bachelor’s and master’s engineering degrees and an MBA from Duke.

Being first to market with equipment to support cloud networking is a matter of pride for Extreme, spokesman Gregory Cross said Wednesday, and “a lot of what goes on” at the Triangle R&D facility on NC 54 in Durham and another R&D center in Anna Salai in India. It also has offices in Tokyo and Seoul.

Cato is the first VP-level executive Extreme has had in the Triangle, Cross said. He “will be responsible for building and strengthening Extreme Networks’ global research and development engineering organization and will be in charge of all aspects of design, development and delivery for all company products,” the company said when it named him to the post.

Cato has held management jobs at IBM, Nortel and Tekelec as well as start-ups.

Emphasizing R&D in RTP and India meant moving some positions to those offices from Santa Clara, Cross said. he did not disclose how many jobs were relocated.

Extreme said in July, when announcing its fourth-quarter results, that it would lay off 110 people worldwide at the same time it will emphasize vertical marketing and R&D.

“We expect these changes will allow us to drive a competitive stance by increasing R&D resources to advance product leadership and by driving more investment in field marketing and brand awareness,” while allowing the company to attain consistent double-digit operating income,” President and CEO Oscar Rodriguez said.

Cato’s appointment comes at the same time that Extreme has introduced 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches for data networks. Cisco Systems, one of Extreme’s primary competitors, is expected to bring out its 40 GbE switches in October, according to a report Wednesday on the “Search Networking” website.

Get the latest news alerts: Follow WRAL Tech Wire at Twitter.