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Cisco reorganization to make engineering more nimble

The latest Cisco reorganization has divided engineering into four units, each targeting what CEO Robbins has identified as growth areas.

CEO Chuck Robbins has reorganized Cisco's engineering division to sharpen the company's focus on technology areas he believes are most important to customers.

Robbins' changes, disclosed this week, split the division into four units: cloud services and platforms, Internet of Things (IoT) and applications, security, and networking. Each of the executives in charge of a group will report directly to Robbins. The division has 26,000 engineers.

Robbins said in a statement that the Cisco reorganization would quicken product development and speed up decision making by enabling sales, services, marketing, and engineering leaders to work more closely.

Industry analysts were neutral on the Cisco reorganization. "I don't think it will have huge repercussions for enterprise customers," said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC. "Most of the products enterprises care about will be unaffected."

The changes also did not come as a surprise. "Every new CEO always puts his mark on the company," said John Fruehe, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Patel remains head of networking

Within the Cisco reorganization, Robbins left Pankaj Patel in charge of networking, which accounts for the largest portion of Cisco's revenue. Patel is scheduled to exit the company before the end of July. He has not announced his post-Cisco plans, and Robbins has not named his replacement.

I don't think it will have huge repercussions for enterprise customers. Most of the products enterprises care about will be unaffected.
Brad Casemoreanalyst, IDC

As head of engineering, Patel, a 19-year veteran of Cisco, oversaw the development of the company's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), the software-defined networking (SDN) platform released in 2014. ACI has made Cisco a competitor in the emerging SDN market, which many analysts say is the future of networking.

In the networking unit are core software and hardware group, the technology and architecture office and the service provider group. Yvette Kanouff will lead the service provider segment, replacing 18-year veteran Kelly Ahuja, who is leaving the company.

Singh, Goeckeler, Trollope to head cloud, security, IoT, respectively

Zorawar "Biri" Singh, who Robbins hired last year, will lead the cloud services and platforms unit. Singh led Hewlett Packard's cloud business. He left in 2013 and joined venture capital firm Khosla Ventures before moving to Cisco.

As head of the cloud services unit, Singh will work closely with Cisco's Insieme group, which led the development of ACI. Cisco formed a separate company called Insieme Networks in 2012 and acquired it a year later.

Robbins decided to leave David Goeckeler in charge of the security unit. He chose Rowan Trollope, who led Cisco's IoT and collaboration business, as the head of the IoT and applications group.

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