In his new role, Sherriff is responsible for implementing the company's China strategy, which includes research and development, education, procurement, investment, and training. Sheriff and Randy Pond, executive VP of global operations, will co-chair the Cisco China Strategy Board. Other board members include Owen Chan, president of Cisco Asia Pacific, and Thomas Lam, president of Cisco China.
Cisco chairman and chief executive John Chambers announced Sheriff's appointment at a Beijing news conference, where the CEO also announced an expansion of agreements with the Chinese government. Those included a memorandum of understanding with China's National Development and Reform Commission. The agreement is for collaboration on Internet and environmental research and development, leadership training, best practice sharing, and business development investments, Cisco said.
In addition, Cisco has signed a memorandum of understanding with the communist nation's Ministry of Commerce. The pact furthers Cisco's commitment to providing assistance to Chinese businesses in the development of IT and business-process outsourcing within the country.
Cisco also has agreed to work with Peking University to create the Guanghua Cisco Leadership Institute for leadership training. Cisco plans to invest $20 million over the next three to five years in the institute.
Chambers said the latest agreements represent the "next phase" within its multi-year corporate strategy for China.
"The next stage of our strategy for China reflects the country's importance to Cisco's global growth strategy and to our long-term business model," Chambers said in a statement. "Cisco's public-private collaboration within China not only helps accelerate these business efforts, but also helps the 1.3 billion people and growing number of entrepreneurs within the country gain access to social and economic opportunities afforded by the Internet."