Cisco reorganizes into 11 groups

Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. will reorganize itself into 11 distinct technology groups as part of an effort to address what it sees as consolidation in the communications market, the company announced Thursday.

The new structure, which will include groups focused on areas such network management services, routing, and storage products, will replace its current structure, which was geared towards addressing three “lines of business” – the enterprise, service provider and commercial markets, Cisco said in a statement.

The line-of-business approach worked in the past because the vendor was dealing with distinct customer segments and product requirements, Cisco president and CEO John Chambers said in the statement. However, consolidation in the market for communications products has blurred the lines between those segments, he said.

The company is making the changes at a time when it is starting to see signs that its business is stabilizing, Chambers said. Although the company “can’t predict the future,” its orders for the first weeks of the current quarter are in line with the expectations it discussed when it reported its fourth-quarter earnings earlier this month, Chambers said.

The other technology groups the company is reorganizing itself into are access, aggregation, Cisco IOS (Internetwork Operating System) Technologies Division (ITD), Internet switching and services, Ethernet access, optical, voice, and wireless.

One analyst applauded the change. “By consolidating a large number of items under a fewer number of managers, there’s more focus,” said analyst Tam Dell’Oro, of market research firm Dell’Oro Group Inc. in Redwood City, Calif. “When you have one person overseeing a broader number of things, they can more quickly make comparisons.”

If the reorganization helps Cisco cut costs it will benefit the company as the technology sector starts to recover, she said. “The company that moves quicker to match expenses with lowered revenue is probably going to be the healthier company,” she said.

The 11 engineering groups will be complemented by a marketing group that will focus on promoting what Cisco sees as its technological advantages, the company said.

As part of the reorganization, Kevin Kennedy, who was senior vice-president of the company’s service provider business, will leave Cisco after eight years of service to pursue “external opportunities,” the company said. He will retain a role as an industry and technical advisor to the company, Cisco said.

Mario Mazzola, former senior vice-president of Cisco’s new business ventures group, has been named chief development officer and will oversee the 11 technology groups, reporting directly to Chambers.

Michelangelo Volpi, formerly Cisco’s chief strategy officer, will lead the Internet switching and services group, which will be the largest of the new technology groups. Charlie Giancarlo, who was senior vice president of the commercial division, will run four of the other groups. Both men will report to Mazzola, Cisco said.

James Richardson, formerly senior vice-president of the enterprise division, becomes chief marketing officer under the new scheme.

Cisco, in San Jose, Calif., can be reached at