Cisco has named veteran executive Charlie Giancarlo as the third chief technology officer (CTO) in the company's history.

At the same time, Cisco shuffled some of the executives under the direction of chief development officer Mario Mazzola. Analysts say Cisco customers might gain more input plus greater clarity into the company's intentions, but beyond that, the reorganisation is business as usual.

"You still have the same people running the show," says Dave Passmore, research director at Burton Group. "It's also interesting that they decided to reconstitute the CTO position after four years of vacancy. They might have thought it was necessary to better co-ordinate all of the development activities at Cisco."

Giancarlo had been co-leader of network switching, one of Cisco's core technologies, as well as several advanced technologies, including voice, storage networking and network security. He also is president of Cisco-Linksys, Cisco's home network subsidiary.

As CTO, Giancarlo will be responsible for contributing to and communicating Cisco's technology strategy, and managing Cisco's government group. He will continue to be president of Cisco-Linksys and lead the company's voice endeavors.

Serial entrepreneur Judy Estrin was Cisco's CTO from 1998 to 2000, and Ed Kozel was the company's first CTO, serving from 1990 to 1998. Cisco decided to reactivate the CTO position in improve communication over new products and technologies both within and outside the company, a spokesman said.

The rest of the reshuffle:

  • Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president, will lead the newly formed Security Technology Group. Previously, Ullal ran Cisco's Optical and Broadband Transport group.
  • Luca Cafiero, senior vice president, will lead the newly formed Data Center, Storage, Switching and Wireless Technology Group.
  • Replacing Ullal in Optical and Broadband Transport is general manager Kambiz Hooshmand. He had shared responsibility for Cisco's Carrier Core Multiservice business unit with general manager Tony Bates.
  • Bates now will have sole responsibility for the Carrier Core Multiservice business unit, continuing to report to Prem Jain and Mike Volpi, both senior VPs of Cisco's Routing Technology Group.
  • Kathy Hill, vice president and general manager, will oversee Cisco's newly formed mid-range and stackable switching technology group. Hill had reported to Larry Birenbaum, general manager of Cisco's Ethernet access group, who has taken a "long planned, well-deserved" sabbatical, the spokesman says. Hill had been vice president and general manager of Cisco's Desktop Switching business unit.