Update: Juniper Networks CTO Koley exits as Yavatkar named new CTO

Juniper Networks CTO Bikash Koley is stepping down from the company at the first of the year while Raj Yavatkar is the new CTO. (Juniper Networks)

After close two and a half years, Juniper Networks CTO and Executive Vice President Bikash Koley will leave the company. In a November 27 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Juniper said that Koley would remain with the company until Jan. 3. 

Prior to joining Juniper in 2017, Koley held various executive roles at Google, including distinguished engineer and head of network architecture, engineering and planning. Koley announced on LinkedIn that he is going back to Google as the vice president and head of global networking.

On Monday, Juniper announced that Raj Yavatkar, who is currently with Google after previously spending four years at VMware and 10 years at Intel, will replace Koley as Juniper's new CTO.

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“Juniper Networks can confirm that the company has hired Raj Yavatkar as chief technology officer," Juniper said in a statement. "Mr. Yavatkar is anticipated to join the Juniper team in December and we look forward to his technical thought leadership and vision as he helps us lead the next era of innovation at Juniper.”

Yavatkar is currently an IEEE Fellow and previously headed the development of Network Virtualization Infrastructure and products for cloud networking at Google, delivering network software solutions for Google Cloud customers.

"Raj is a visionary who has been able to translate a deep understanding of customer and market needs into breakthrough products and solutions for the past fifteen years. I’m truly pleased and honored to have Raj help us in our strategy to change networking for the cloud era," said Juniper Networks CEO Rami Rahim, CEO, in a statement.

Prior to Google, Yavatkar held leadership roles at VMware and Intel where he pioneered new hybrid cloud product categories.

"In my career, I’ve always envisioned and improved upon how emerging technologies can be applied to creatively solve business problems ahead of the competition and have applied this knowledge to pioneer new product lines and cloud architectures. I look forward to joining the world-class team at Juniper and guiding their industry-leading portfolio of cloud networking solutions," said Yavatkar, in a statement.

RELATED: Juniper CTO talks about how open source software is fundamental to his company's strategy

During his time at Juniper, Koley played a key role the company's efforts to be more software-centric across its switching, routing and security solutions. He also drove the vendor's technology strategy across network functions virtualization (NFV), open source, hybrid cloud, and packet-optical integration, to name just a few of his key projects.

RELATED: Juniper Networks gets Mist-y with new cloud SD-WAN service

Juniper Networks has been active on the M&A front during Koley's time as CTO. Juniper Networks closed on its $405 million deal to buy wireless LAN vendor Mist Systems earlier this year, and has started to integrate Mist's technology across its portfolio, including SD-WAN. On the SD-WAN front, Juniper got off to a slower start than most of its rivals. Last year Juniper Networks bought enterprise cloud storage vendor HTBASE for an undisclosed sum in order to boost its cloud capabilities.

In January, Juniper acknowledged it needed to jump start its cloud-native efforts by signing a seven-year, $325 million agreement with IBM Services to help Juniper better manage its IT services and give it a quicker on-ramp to a cloud-native architecture.

In June, Juniper announced it was one of the vendors picked for BT's converged network, which BT calls Network Cloud. At its NXTWORK conference last month in Las Vegas, Juniper Networks announced new capabilities for its Mist and Contrail solutions that were designed to help its enterprise customers. 

Despite those efforts, Juniper has struggled to regain year-over-year profitability. In October, Juniper said its revenue dropped 4% year-over-year to $1.13 billion in its third quarter, but it posted a 3% increase over the previous quarter. During its second quarter earnings call with analysts, CEO Rami Rahim said he expected the company to return to year-over-year growth by the next fourth quarter.

As the new CTO, Yavatkar is faced with making sure that Juniper is a big player in next year's early trials and deployments of 400G with hyperscale cloud providers, while its service provider revenues could increase based on its partnership with Ericsson.

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