01 Feb 2016 12:52 IST

Top level exits continue at Cisco; Pankaj Patel latest to go

Pankaj Patel, Executive Vice-President and Chief Development Officer, Cisco, has decided to step down from his role in the second half of this calendar year.

His departure from Cisco comes barely four months after the exit of Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior.

Patel’s exit from Cisco adds to the long list of several top executive exits after Chuck Robbins was named the new CEO of Cisco by outgoing CEO John Chambers last May. President and COO Gary Moore and President Development and Sales Rob Lloyd, who were seen as the top contenders for the CEO’s role after Chambers, announced their decision to quit as part of the larger management shake-up, with both exiting Cisco on July 25, 2015, the last day of the networking major’s fiscal year.

Some of the other high-profile exits are, Senior Vice-President of Cisco Services Edzard Overbeek, Chief Globalisation Officer Wim Elfrink, Senior Vice-President of Cloud and Managed Services Edison Peres and Senior Vice-President, Worldwide Partner Organization, Bruce Klein, who quit in quick succession last year, except for Overbeek who will stay on as Strategic Advisor until June.

Rising star

Ironically, Patel, a Cisco veteran of 19 years and a ‘rising star’, was handpicked by Robbins to join his new 10-member top executive team last June, even before he officially took over the reins as CEO on July 26, 2016.

As a part of Robbin’s “next generation” execution leadership team, Patel was tasked with driving innovation in Cisco’s networking and data centre architectures, leading the company’s $36.3-billion technology portfolio across a global team of over 26,000 employees.

While Patel’s successor has not been named yet, he will continue to work with Robbins on ways to accelerate his vision for Cisco’s next chapter in engineering leadership. According to Cisco insiders, Patel’s replacement will be announced before Cisco’s Partner Summit 2016 that kicks off in San Diego on February 29.

Patel joined Cisco through its acquisition of StrataCom in 1996. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from BITS Pilani and holds a master’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He was previously Senior Vice-President and General Manager for Cisco’s Service Provider business.

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