Cisco reorganizes again

Cisco Systems Inc. has quietly reorganized again, shaving the 11 technology groups formed last August into eight and appointing an executive to oversee technology development for service providers.

The realignment, which took place last Friday, puts heightened focus on routing and switching as Cisco’s core markets, the company says, and promotes six executives to the level of senior vice president in charge of specific technology groups. Most intriguing though, is the formation of a Service Provider CTO, which will be filled by Roland Acra, previously vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Internet Routing group.

“We did not issue a press release and consider it just a natural evolution of the re-org announced last August,” a spokeswoman says.

That reorganization eliminated Cisco’s line-of-business structure and replaced it with a centralized engineering and marketing effort around 11 technology groups reporting to chief development officer Mario Mazzola. Last week, those groups were whittled down to eight that continue to report to Mazzola.

They are: Switching/Voice/Storage, Ethernet Access, Access/Routing, Carrier Systems Group, Optical Networking, Network Management, Internet Technologies, and Service Provider CTO.

Last August, Access, Voice and Storage were separate groups. They’ve now been melded into the Routing and Switching groups.

Wireless and Aggregation were two other groups formed last August but now absorbed into others. Wireless has been split into mobile and wireless LANs, with the former absorbed by Access/Routing and the latter by the Ethernet Access. Aggregation has also been subsumed by the Access/Routing Group.

Four groups remain unchanged from last August: Ethernet Access, Optical Networking, Network Management and Internet Technologies Division. Carrier Systems Group was formed earlier this year.

“We believe the company’s key emerging growth areas continue to be storage, security, voice, and wireless,” says Nikos Theodosopoulos, communications equipment analyst at UBS Warburg.

The only new division that was formed last Friday was the Service Provider CTO. Analysts say the formation of Service Provider CTO indicates Cisco’s determination to raise its profile in the service provider market, especially with incumbents.

Last August’s reorganization buried service provider operations deep down in the reporting hierarchy, resulting in the departure of a top service provider executive while the management ranks were filled with enterprise-seasoned veterans.

“We would view this move as further commitment of Cisco to the carrier business,” Theodosopoulos says. “We believe that Cisco is trying to streamline more and these actions reflect a more focused engineering effort with less duplicative functions.”

Cisco has stated that it needs to gain more influence and credibility with the operational side of carriers. The Carrier Systems Group was formed in February to do just that.

In addition to Acra, the new senior vice presidents are: Larry Birenbaum, Ethernet Access; Joel Bion, Internet Technologies Division; Luca Cafiero, Switching/Voice/Storage; Prem Jain, Access/Routing; and Jayshree Ullal, Optical. Mike Volpi (Access/Routing) and Charlie Giancarlo (Switching/Voice/Storage) are the remaining senior vice presidents from last August.

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