Cisco’s Chief Strategist Leaves

Cisco deal maker and chief strategy officer Ned Hooper, who brought Tandberg, WebEx, Scientific-Atlantic, Starent and NDS into the fold and administered Cisco’s $2 billion venture fund, is leaving.

According to a blog posting Tuesday by CEO John Chambers and COO Gary Moore, Hooper’s going to start “an independent investment partnership company and pursue his goal to be a principal investor.”

Apparently “Ned has been working on his plan with us over a number of months, and we look forward to partnering with him in his new endeavor.”

That removes Chambers’ heir-presumptive since Chambers has no intention of retiring. Chambers has been deconstructing the un-agile bureaucratic management edifice he built.

With Hooper out, Cisco is going to give CTO Padmasree Warrior his job and simply expand her CTO role, making her responsible for determining Cisco’s strategy, investments and acquisitions.

Business Insider says “she’s not been considered CEO material. She’s mostly worked as part of a team, and it’s hard to pinpoint any big Cisco successes directly on her.”

The company has also put Pankaj Patel, who developed Cisco’s service provider business, which now accounts for ~35% of the company’s direct product revenue, in charge of engineering.

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