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Chuck Robbins Starts First Day as Cisco's CEO With Personnel Changes

He names a new CTO and a chief digital officer, but has made other changes, too.

Cisco Systems

Today marks Chuck Robbins’s first official day as CEO of the networking equipment giant Cisco Systems. And while he has largely been running the show since first being named to the job in May, he commemorated the occasion with a pair of executive appointments.

Robbins announced in a corporate blog post this morning that he has tapped Biri Singh, the former head of Hewlett-Packard’s cloud business, as Cisco’s chief technology officer, replacing Padmasree Warrior who, as Re/code reported last month, plans to officially leave the company in September. Singh left HP in 2013 and has been a general partner at Khosla Ventures since. He joined HP from IBM in 2011, hired by its former CEO Léo Apotheker to run its cloud computing business that eventually came to be known as Helion.

Cisco also said that Robbins has named Kevin Bandy, a former senior VP at, as chief digital officer.

It’s the second batch of new executive names since Cisco officially announced Robbins’s new leadership team on June 4.

Robbins has been shaking Cisco up in other ways, quietly divesting or shutting down weak business units. Last Thursday the company sold off its TV set-top box unit to Technicolor for about $600 million. The sale amounted to an unwinding of Cisco’s $7 billion purchase of Scientific Atlanta in 2005, one of its biggest buys ever. That deal never quite picked up the momentum Cisco had hoped for; it outsourced the manufacturing side of the set-top box business in 2011, when it sold a factory in Juarez, Mexico, to Foxconn Technology, the Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant.

A day later, Cisco confirmed to the trade publication CRN that it had shut down its data storage equipment unit Invicta. It had been made up of assets of Whiptail, a flash memory storage startup Cisco acquired in 2013 for $415 million. As many as 60 people were said to have lost their jobs as a result.

There’s still a lot for Robbins to do at Cisco. We made a few suggestions in May. He has signaled almost from day one that he intends to emphasize “operational rigor” in remaking the company, noting in a video conversation with Chambers that Cisco has 18 different product lines, some of which overlap and even compete with each other. Now that he’s officially in charge, expect more changes.

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