As Cisco embarks on next phase of its strategy, Goeckeler departs to become CEO of Western Digital

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins is losing his wingman now that David Goeckeler has been named as CEO of data storage firm Western Digital. Cisco is creating new business groups as part of the next phase of the company's strategy, but it's not clear if Goeckeler's departure is a direct result of the re-org.

Goeckeler, who has been at Cisco for 19 years, was promoted to his most recent position of executive vice president and general manager, networking and security business in 2017. He will start his job as CEO of Western Digital on Monday.

Goeckeler oversees more than $34 billion of the company's global technology franchise, and leads a team of over 25,000 engineers. He's in charge of Cisco's networking and security and market acceleration, including the development operations for the company's entire technology portfolio and strategic acquisitions.

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At last summer's Cisco Live conference in San Diego, Goeckeler played a prominent role during Cisco's on-stage presentations after Robbins handed him the reins. 

"We are proud to support David as he takes on his new role as CEO," Cisco said in a statement that was emailed to FierceTelecom. "We thank him for his leadership and for delivering incredible innovation at Cisco. We are always looking to build the strongest portfolio and platforms for the future."

Over the past year, Cisco has been faced with lower orders from emerging markets, and slower service provider revenues. On a global scale, Cisco, like other telecommunications companies, needs to gauge the potential impact of the coronavirus on its bottom line. Robbins has previously said that the tariff wars with China have had a minimal impact on Cisco, but he has cited global headwinds as one of the main reasons for its current malaise.

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During its second quarter earnings call earlier last month, Cisco reported that product orders fell 6% annually, after dropping 4% in the October quarter. Cisco's shares dropped nearly 6% the morning after its second quarter earnings call, during which it issued guidance for revenue to be down 1.5% to 3.5% (annual rate) during its April quarter.

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Cisco recently started a new round of layoffs in the face of slowing sales due to global economic headwinds. Cisco, which has about 75,000 employees, declined to say how many employees would lose their jobs or what areas of Cisco would be impacted.

Cisco creates new business groups

Cisco has created new business groups that it said would allow the company to "stay closer to our technology solutions and uniquely solve our customer challenges."

Todd Nightingale, who previously served as senior vice president of and general manager of Cisco Meraki, was named as senior vice president and general manager for Cisco's enterprise networking and cloud group. Nightingale has been with Cisco since 2012, which is he same year Cisco bought Meraki for $1.2 billion.

Cisco's Jonathan Davidson, who led Cisco's service provider division since 2018 following the exit of Yvette Kanouff, was named as senior vice president and general manager of the mass-scale infrastructure division.

While Gee Rittenhouse will continue to lead Cisco's security group, the company is conducting a search for the leader of its security and applications group. Danny Winokur will continue to lead Cisco's AppDynamics business while Sri Srinivasan is expanding his role to lead all of the company's collaboration business.

Amy Chang, who was founder and CEO of Accompany before Cisco bought it for $270 million in cash and stock in 2018, is taking time off after leading Cisco's collaboration unit.

Cisco's new future technologies and incubation group is led by Liz Centoni, who most recently was in charge of Cisco's cloud, compute and IoT business. Centoni's new title is senior vice president, future technologies and incubation.

Cisco's core hardware platforms are now led by Eyal Dagan. Marco Croci will continue to lead the hardware and optics teams and will report to Dagan. Its silicon group, which includes the Silicon One chipset that was announced in December, will be combined with Cisco's hardware platform and optics team.

"We are always looking to build the strongest portfolio and platforms for the future. Our customers want simplicity, security, and real-time collaboration as they accelerate their cloud, 5G and AI strategies," according to a Cisco spokesperson.