Cisco exec resigns, moves to Symbol

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One of Cisco System Inc.'s top executives has jumped ship and landed a position as president and chief operating officer of Symbol Technologies Inc.

William Nuti, 38, whom some considered to be next in line to replace Cisco CEO John Chambers, had been at Cisco for 10 years, most recently as a senior vice president heading up the networking giant's U.S. sales operations and its world service provider business, according to a statement from Symbol.

Nuti replaces Richard Bravman, a 23-year veteran of Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol who was promoted to CEO.

On one level, Nuti may have simply wanted to go home because he was commuting to San Jose from New York. Or maybe he didn't want to wait in line to possibly become CEO of Cisco, said Bill Lesieur, an analyst at Technology Business Research Inc. in Hampton, N.H.

Cisco spokeswoman Catherine Stewart said the company has yet to name a replacement for Nuti. She said employees who had reported to Nuti will now report to Rick Justice, senior vice president of worldwide sales operations.

"Bill will be missed, and we wish him well," Stewart said. "This was a great opportunity for him and it's in his own back yard. Who wouldn't want to give up a many-hours commute for a 15-minute commute?" A spokesman for Symbol couldn't be reached for comment at deadline.

But Lesieur also said the collapse of the telecommunications market is making executives impatient for new opportunities. Symbol makes wireless networking appliances and bar-code scanning technologies.

In addition, he said, Cisco has been going through a major transition from its foundation as the dominant player in the market for data networking and Internet Protocol routers to becoming a top player in the service provider market of complex telecom equipment.

"To be successful, Cisco needs a single top senior executive in place who is fully accountable for driving and evangelizing Cisco's transition to becoming a top player in the service provider market," Lesieur said.

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