Ned Hooper, a potential successor to Cisco Chief Executive Officer John Chambers, is leaving the networking giant.
Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) disclosed Hooper’s departure as chief strategy officer, in a blog post written by Chambers.
Replacing him will be Padmasree Warrior, who already is chief technology officer.
Hooper had been on the short list of possible successors to Chambers. Hooper is forming an independent investment-partnership company, and Cisco plans to partner with him in the effort, the company said. “[W]e look forward to partnering with him,” Chambers said.
Before becoming chief strategy officer in 2009, Hooper was the head of Cisco Systems Inc.’s consumer business. Altogether, he spent 13 years with Cisco, and was the driving force behind the acquisitions of Tandberg, WebEx, Starent and Pure Digital.
Hooper also managed Cisco’s $2 billion investment portfolio.
Warrior had been leading Cisco’s engineering organization together with Pankaj Patel, another senior vice president. As she assumes responsibility for strategy, she will yield control of engineering to Patel, Cisco said.
Chambers described the changes as “evolving our talent” in the blog.
“Cisco’s long-standing belief has always been that companies need to evolve to drive forward and lead through market transitions. The same is true for our executive talent,” he wrote. “Evolving our talent requires putting them in new roles, expanding their perspective and skill sets and bringing fresh ideas and energy to the business. This is what we’ve recently done with Edzard Overbeek’s new move from SVP of our Asia-Pacific-Japan region to head of our global Services business and Bruce Klein’s move from SVP of Public Sector Sales to the head of our Worldwide Partner Organization.
“Over the past year, we have refocused our engineering organization for agility, better decision making, and a renewed focus on innovation. The 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.
“With that, we are pleased to announce Padmasree Warrior will expand her role to become Cisco’s Chief Technology and Strategy Officer where she will be responsible for identifying customer and industry transitions and determining Cisco’s strategy to address them. Padma will work closely with Cisco’s engineering, field, operations and services leadership, and will define strategy, investments, acquisitions and the evolution of Cisco’s technology partner ecosystem. Additionally, Padma will be responsible for thought leadership around Cisco’s products and architectures, technical talent development and recruiting, and she will increase her time with external stakeholders. The business group CTO’s will report dotted line to Padma to enable strong alignment between technology strategy, business strategy and M&A activity. Over 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. We look forward to accelerating our market position under Padma’s strategic direction.
“After 13 years of exceptional service to Cisco, Ned Hooper will be leaving the immediate Cisco family to form an independent investment partnership company and to pursue his goal to be a principal investor. Ned has been working on his plan with us over a number of months, and we look forward to partnering with him in his new endeavor. Ned has a unique passion and skill for investment and strategy, and will focus on this in the next phase of his career. Ned pioneered the model for large-scale M&A at Cisco and drove significant transactions for the company such as Tandberg, WebEx, Airespace, Starent and NDS. Additionally, he has managed our $2B investment portfolio with both strategic and financial returns to the company. Ned’s strategy and business development team will now report to Padma. We would like to thank Ned for his contributions, leadership, friendship and his continual drive to always do the right thing for Cisco.”
Cisco operates its second largest campus outside its Silicon Valley headquarters in RTP.
(Bloomberg and The AP contributed to this report.)