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AT&T exec spurns Cisco

Hossein Eslambolchi refuses Cisco's offer to become its senior vice president of service provider solutions and instead will stay with Ma Bell.

A veteran AT&T executive has reconsidered a move to Cisco Systems and will return to Ma Bell's home cooking.

Hossein Eslambolchi, 42, has refused Cisco's offer to become its senior vice president of service provider solutions. Cisco announced the hiring of Eslambolchi in December, though the AT&T veteran was not expected to start until this month.

The hiring of Eslambolchi was thought to be indicative of an ongoing thrust within Cisco to populate its executive ranks with telecommunications veterans, just as it attempts to grab market share in high-end phone equipment from the likes of Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies and Alcatel, among others.

Eslambolchi told Cisco of his decision last week, a company spokesman said.

"Over the holidays, Hossein decided he would really miss AT&T," said a Cisco spokesman. "While we were excited by the prospect of him joining Cisco, we understand his decision and wish him all the best."

Cisco lost veteran executive Gary Daichendt, the company's executive vice president of worldwide operations, in December. His departure followed a year in which the company also lost chief technology officer Judy Estrin and executive vice president Don Listwin.