Charlie Giancarlo, the chief development officer at Cisco Systems who has been seen as an eventual successor to chairman and CEO John Chambers, is leaving the company to join private equity firm Silver Lake. A lot of people don't seem too surprised at the move. They are suggesting that while Giancarlo, who has held many positions at Cisco, including significant posts interfacing with service providers, was the obvious No. 2 at Cisco, Chambers was nowhere near retirement. This is probably true, as both Chambers and Cisco continue to be telecom juggernauts, moving into new markets, forging new relationships and still acquiring companies, though not at the break-neck pace it once did. Cisco is moving strong into the service provider industry just when some of its traditional enterprise segments, like financial services, are showing some weakness. What might be surprising is that Giancarlo isn't taking a CEO job somewhere else, like Mike Volpi, the previous No. 2 at Cisco did earlier this year when he went to exciting online video player Joost.
So, who's left at Cisco? Some observers say the company is losing executive talent, though it did just hire former Motorola CTO Padmasree Warrior. Anyone who believes Cisco is lacking in that department might want to Google the bios of remaining executives such as "Tony Bates" and "Jeff Spagnola."
Meanwhile, Cisco has had big carrier wins lately at AT&T, XO Communications and Savvis, but some carriers may not be buying its pitch for IP over dense wavelength division multiplexing technology.