So long Cisco Charlie

This blog is one quick hit because it is about Charles Giancarlo, the executive vice-president and chief development officer for Cisco as well as president of Linksys.

After 14 years at Cisco he is leaving for Silver Lake Partners, a venture capital firm that acquired Avaya last year.

I always liked dealing with Giancarlo because I never once felt like he was some big-shot executive. I also felt like he was just another one of the “boys.” Take away his title and his responsibilities and I could see him hanging out at one of the many pool halls or joints in the many Little Italy neighbourhoods in North America.

There were many times I saw Giancarlo in a fancy suit and there were many other times where he looked just like everyone else.

The difference with him was that he is super-smart. Several channel executives have told me that over the years.

There are a lot of news stories and blogs saying that he was going to be the next CEO of Cisco once John Chambers retires. I too fell into that trap trying to figure out who was going to be Chambers’ heir apparent. My guess was James Richardson. I think now that Chambers is simply not going to retire at all. Why should he? He is on a roll. Giancarlo could have done the job. There is no doubt in my mind about that. He may not look presidential, but he definitely has the credentials and the clout in the market place. I am sort of surprised that he took on this role at a VC firm. He would have gotten a CEO position soon enough. But, only he really knows why.

I always believe that there are many reasons why executives leave a great job such as Giancarlo’s.

While Giancarlo’s departure is huge, Cisco has a vast array of talented executives to choose from as his replacement. I am always partial to the Canadians and I do not think it is a stretch to say that Andrew Sage would be a suitable replacement.

One quick hit before I go. Microsoft Corp. announced Thursday that Jeff Raikes, a longtime senior executive who currently is in charge of Office, Windows Server, SQL Server and other key products, will retire from the company in September.

Raikes, 49, will be replaced as president of Microsoft’s business division by Stephen Elop, formerly chief operating officer at networking vendor Juniper Networks Inc. Microsoft said that Elop, 44, is scheduled to join the company at the end of the month and take over responsibility for Office, the Microsoft Business Solutions line of applications and the vendor’s unified communications technologies.

— Posted by Paolo Del Nibletto, 11/01/08, 10:09 AM,

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