Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) is making headline news again as Chuck Robbins continues to remake the tech giant in his image after taking over from longtime CEO John Chambers last summer. The latest reorg hits engineering, which Chambers shook up himself less than two years ago.

Robbins, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, has reshaped much of Cisco’s major leadership and also championed several acquisitions, including three significant ones in recent months. In an email from Robbins to Cisco employees obtained by Business Insider, Robbins explains his reasoning for the latest changes:

“Over the past several months, I have met with customers and country leaders around the world, and during our conversations, we have discussed their desire to partner with Cisco as they embrace digital transformation. Companies, cities, and countries are facing an unprecedented level of change, from macroeconomic uncertainty to shifting geopolitical dynamics, and technology holds the promise to help them truly get ahead. Many business leaders have talked consistently about the need to stay agile and maintain lower operating costs, while driving innovation to ensure their success. Country leaders have talked with me about the need to drive job growth, innovation in their economies and grow overall GDP. Each customer and country leader has also emphasized that they are excited about technology driving their priorities, but they’ve also made it very clear that security is their absolute number one priority as they embrace digital.

“Coming out of these conversations, it has become very clear that we must be organized to best align to our customers’ needs within this ever-changing environment. Our customers’ priorities have always been core to all we do at Cisco, and that is true now more than ever. “

After spelling out the changes in detail, “Chuck” ended the letter:

“Cisco is deeply focused on innovation, and we are continuing to make the changes needed to accelerate our growth. As a team, we will continue to evolve to deliver against our customers’ needs. This will ensure we will be the most strategic partner to our customers in their transition to digital. I’m incredibly proud of our Engineering team, and excited about the innovation I know they will deliver to ensure our continued – and future – leadership in the market. The opportunity ahead of us is ours to win.


Making headlines

“Senior Cisco Manager Out in Reshuffle,” headlines The Wall Street Journal.

“Yvette Kanouff to take over duties of Kelly Ahuja, who had overseen sales to communications-service providers …”

Reports NetworkWorld:

“Cisco reorganizes engineering in a big way; veteran Ahuja out”

“Cisco engineering reorg emphasizes strategic importance of networking, IoT, cloud, security”

Robbins is reforming engineering into four groups, all of which report directly to him:

  • Networking
  • Cloud Services & Platforms
  • Security
  • Applications & IoT

“It’s another reorg for engineering, which employs about 25,000 people, after a huge one was completed under John Chambers and engineering leader leader Pankaj Patel in the fall of 2014,” Business Insider says. “That reorg was part of the company’s 8,000-job layoff that year.”

Ahuja is an 18-year Cisco vey, but seniority is no protection as Robbins, who has numerous North Carolina connections and whose company maintains one of its largest operations in RTP, reboots Cisco to change with the new tech world being shaped by virtualization, cloud computing, the Internet of Things and software defined networking.

The latest reorg includes an expansion of Cisco’;s service provider organization.

Yvette Kanouff, another senior vice president who joined Cisco in 2014, will assume Mr. Ahuja’s former duties as part of an expanded service-provider organization, the company said Monday.

“Cisco did not say where Ahuja might be headed, but did say he will be replaced by Yvette Kanouff, who will lead an expanded Service Provider organization. Kanouff joined Cisco in 2014 from Cablevision and has been Cisco’s SVP and GM, Cloud Solutions,” NetworkWorld notes.

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