Cisco to bring Kozel back into fold

Former chief technology officer Ed Kozel plans to return to Cisco on a full-time basis in November, according to chief executive John Chambers.

3 min read
LOS ANGELES--As one high-level executive for data communications giant Cisco Systems departs, a chief architect of the company's success plans to return to the fold.

Former chief technology officer Ed Kozel plans to return to Cisco on a full-time basis in November, according to John Chambers, chief executive of the company.

Kozel previously spent ten years at Cisco--during which the company grew into the leading provider of data networking equipment--before deciding to take a part-time role in April of last year. Most observers did not expect Kozel to return in a full-time capacity, though he continued to hold a formal position at the firm.

News of the return of Kozel as the firm's chief advisor comes as the company re-shuffles its executive deck, announcing the departure of Bill Carrico, current senior vice president for the company's small and medium-sized business unit.

Carrico will be replaced by Charlie Giancarlo, the executive who has been responsible for Cisco's global alliances program over the past two years.

Kozel's and Carrico's careers are intertwined, as Cisco's current chief technology officer (CTO) and Kozel's replacement, Judy Estrin, is Carrico's wife. The duo came to Cisco as part of an acquisition in the spring of last year.

Carrico's tenure at Cisco was relatively brief due to a long-running interest in Silicon Valley start-ups, according to Chambers, who spoke here at the Spring Internet World '99 industry trade show today.

Due in part to Carrico's stewardship, Cisco's small- and medium-sized business currently exceeds a $2 billion run-rate through third-party sales channels half-way through the firm's 1999 fiscal year--more than doubling the company's performance in fiscal 1998.

Giancarlo will continue to head the company's global alliance efforts until a successor can be found, according to the company.

Chambers said Carrico's heart lies in his start-up investments, and he was unsure how long the executive would stay when Cisco bought Carrico and Estrin's Precept Software last year. "I wish I was able to keep him," Chambers said.

Cisco's chief also said he expects that ten percent of his top management staff will turn over on an annual basis.

Kozel has held an informal role at Cisco since he chose to vacate his CTO position last year, choosing to spend more time with his family. He has retained the title of senior vice president of corporate development, as well as his position on the company's board of directors.

Before his departure, Kozel and Chambers were closely linked, inhabiting offices next door to each other at the company. A former Cisco executive recently recalled that whenever Chambers moved his office, he would make sure Kozel's digs would be moved right next to his--underscoring the nature of Kozel's role in driving technology development at the company.

Cisco's stock was down about 2 percent on Wall Street, as part of a larger technology slump for the market.

Separately, Chambers pounded on familiar themes during a speech here, following an address from competitor Lucent Technologies yesterday.

The Cisco chief continued to hammer on the changes the Internet and networking have brought, claiming the current atmosphere represents a "second industrial revolution."

"For the first time, there is a truly level playing field between small companies and big companies," Chambers told a filled hall. "The network--the Internet--will be the competitive advantage for business."