Warrior, the former CTO is stepping up to become the Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, part of her continued march up the executive ranks at the company. The loss of Hooper is somewhat surprising as he was one of a succession of heir-apparents to succeed John Chambers as the CEO.
However, it looks like Hooper won’t stray too far from the Cisco fold. He’s forming an investment fund that apparently will have ties to Cisco. From the Cisco blog:
Hooper helped drive and manage Cisco’s acquisition of successes like Starrent as well as flops like Pure Digital, the maker of the Flip camera. Hooper’s team will now report to Warrior. As moves go, this may be an admission by Cisco that it needs to be more aggressive when it comes to scouting out and investing in new technologies. Currently its networking business is under attack from a variety of startups and a sea change in how companies are building out their data centers.
After 13 years of exceptional service to Cisco, Ned Hooper will be leaving the immediate Cisco family to form an independent investment partnership company and to pursue his goal to be a principal investor.Ned has been working on his plan with us over a number of months, and we look forward to partnering with him in his new endeavor. Ned has a unique passion and skill for investment and strategy, and will focus on this in the next phase of his career. Ned pioneered the model for large-scale M&A at Cisco and drove significant transactions for the company such as Tandberg, WebEx, Airespace, Starent and NDS. Additionally, he has managed our $2B investment portfolio with both strategic and financial returns to the company.
After a reorganization last year, and the creation of a new company called Insieme, which Cisco has funded with $100 million, it still can’t afford to rest on its laurels. Hooper’s fund may help it find new technologies that will help it succeed as much of the networking gear industry commodifies. We’ll update the story when we get more information.