He may not officially be the heir apparent to John Chambers, but Cisco Systems exec Charlie Giancarlo got a boost in that direction when the networking giant named him as its Chief Development Officer in a round of promotions and reorganizations Thursday.
Giancarlo, formerly Cisco's Chief Technology Officer, takes over the spot held by longtime Cisco exec Mario Mazzola, who is retiring. In the biography of Mazzola on the Cisco Web site, the CDO job is said to be responsible for "leading Cisco's overall R&D strategy and managing Cisco's entire engineering organization," among other tasks.
In his new role, Giancarlo will report directly to Cisco president and CEO Chambers, and be in charge of the company's overall technology direction. He will also retain the role of president of Cisco's Linksys division, which makes wired and wireless routers for the home market. The new role for Giancarlo, Cisco said in a statement, becomes effective July 31.
Senior execs Mike Volpi and Jayshree Ullal will now take on "expanded roles," according to Cisco. Volpi, previously senior vice president for Cisco's routing group, will now take on the additional responsibility of leading the company's overall service-provider strategy. Ullal, senior vice president for Cisco's security technology group, will now oversee the company's data center and switching groups as well, Cisco said.
Volpi's and Ullal's new duties include responsibilities previously held by senior vice presidents Prem Jain and Luca Cafiero, who are retiring from Cisco, according to the company. Cisco also promoted five others to senior vice president positions, according to the company statement.
Giancarlo's CTO position will remain open for the time being, according to a Cisco spokesperson. While the move to CDO is a boost to Giancarlo's position on the Cisco technology org chart, the company has historically shied away from naming any top exec as the anointed successor to Chambers, who in recent interviews has made it clear that he has no intention of leaving Cisco in the near future.
Before joining Cisco, Mazzola was the president and CEO of Crescendo, a networking startup that built the first cards for linking computers to redundant, 100 Mbps networks via copper wires. Crescendo, acquired by Cisco in 1993, is believed to be the first in Cisco's long string of technology acquisitions. Ullal also joined Cisco via the Crescendo acquisition.
Giancarlo joined Cisco in 1994, via the acquisiton of Ethernet switch pioneer Kalpana Inc., where Giancarlo was vice president of marketing and corporate development.