Ex-Motorola CTO takes same role at Cisco

Padmasree Warrior left Motorola on Monday

Padmasree Warrior, who resigned as Motorola Inc.'s chief technology officer yesterday, will take on the same job at Cisco Systems Inc., the networking vendor announced today.

Warrior will become Cisco's first CTO since Charles Giancarlo traded the title for chief development officer in 2005 in a broad management reorganization. Cisco has not disclosed when she will start the new job. Warrior, 47, will report to Chairman and CEO John Chambers.

The move takes Warrior from a struggling maker of consumer and enterprise mobile products to a company that dominates several markets and is rapidly expanding into others. Her departure from Motorola came just days after CEO Ed Zander was replaced amid falling sales and profits. Zander is set to leave the company at year's end.

At Cisco, Warrior's job will be to further detail the company's technology strategy and to identify new opportunities and the partnerships that may be needed to take advantage of them, Warrior said in an interview today.

"There is no dearth of opportunity for a company like Cisco to grow into," Warrior said. "One of the first things we will have to work on is prioritizing the opportunities."

Her diverse experience will help in crafting a vision for Cisco, Warrior said. At Motorola, she held leadership roles in the semiconductor and energy systems groups, and she also worked in software, services and applications, she said. She has a master's degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology. The fact that she comes from India will help her deal with key challenges of globalization, such as identifying talent and developing markets, she said.

In hiring Warrior, Cisco has tapped one of its key rivals for the future of on-demand mobility, said Forrester Research Inc. analyst Chris Silva. Cisco, Motorola and Nortel Networks Ltd. are all at the forefront of this trend, and they're all grappling with the intersection of Wi-Fi, WiMax and cellular infrastructure.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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