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Cisco lures AT&T executive

The company attracts a longtime AT&T executive to help in its efforts to tackle the telecommunications equipment market.

Cisco Systems has attracted a longtime AT&T executive to help in its efforts to tackle the telecommunications equipment market.

Former AT&T executive Hossein Eslambolchi, 42, joins Cisco this week as senior vice president of service provider solutions, according to the company. He will report to Kevin Kennedy, senior vice president for Cisco's service provider line of business, another former AT&T executive.

The hire is significant for Cisco given the company's roots as a provider of network equipment for internal corporate networks. Expansion to tackle sales to service providers and large telecommunications carriers has met with a new set of competitors such as Nortel Networks, Alcatel and Lucent Technologies. Cisco is adapting its focus accordingly.

In an interview this week at Cisco's financial analyst conference, Kennedy said he continues to expect his line of business, which focuses on service providers and telcos, to generate year-over-year growth between 50 percent and 100 percent for the current fiscal year.

Eslambolchi worked with a team of Cisco engineers in the past few years to improve the reliability of AT&T's frame relay-based network.

The 15-year AT&T veteran has more than 90 patents in several areas of networking. Eslambolchi was senior vice president of packet and optical network services at AT&T.

At Cisco, he will be in charge of service provider marketing, operations and a globalization team.