Skype makes Cisco executive new CEO

Skype finds itself a new chief executive in Tony Bates, former senior vice president at Cisco Systems. Will the move put acquisition rumors to rest and enhance IPO efforts?

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Skype has appointed former Cisco Systems Senior Vice President Tony Bates as CEO, the company announced today.

Bates, who has been running Cisco's enterprise division, comes to Skype with more than 20 years of experience in enterprise solutions. The networking giant said he managed Cisco divisions totaling more than 12,500 people and generating $20 billion for the company annually. He currently holds nine patents and has served on YouTube's board of directors.

Josh Silverman, Skype's current CEO, will be leaving the company, though he said that he will work with Bates to help with the "transition." In the meantime, Skype's chief financial and administrative officer, Adrian Dillon, will be running the company until Bates joins the firm at the end of the month.

Tony Bates
Tony Bates Cisco Systems

For Bates, coming to Skype is a much different experience than being at Cisco. Although he was responsible for $20 billion of Cisco's revenue, Skype reported earlier this year that through the first six months of 2010, it generated $406 million in revenue. Its profit came in at just $13.2 million. Last year, it lost $99 million on revenue of $719 million.

Skype's decision to bring a top Cisco executive to its company speaks to the company's future intentions.

Earlier this year, Skype, which currently has more than 560 million registered users around the world, filed for a $100 million initial public offering. eBay sold its controlling interest in the Internet telephony company in late 2009. If Skype decides to go through with the IPO, which is looking increasingly likely with the hiring of Bates, it will be listed on the Nasdaq index.

Rumors have been swirling lately that Cisco was getting close to acquiring Skype. But it seems that with this acquisition, the VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) company plans to try its luck going public, rather than sell itself to the enterprise giant.