Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chicago Sun-Times: Moto's rising star heads to Cisco

Highest ranking woman's departure comes on heels of Zander's move

From the December 4, 2007 Chicago Sun-Times

BY HOWARD WOLINSKY Staff Reporter

Padmasree Warrior, 47, who left Monday as chief technology officer at Motorola emerged today as CTO at Cisco Systems Inc., the San Jose, Calif., networking and communications technology company.

She left Motorola on the heels of the announced departure of her boss, Ed Zander, Motorola’s chairman and chief executive officer .

In her personal blog at Cisco, she said: “It is an exciting time to join Cisco. Cisco is the company whose leadership legacy defines ‘The Network’ in many ways. Today, it is a company driving many new paradigms in communications and information technology. In the future, it will be a company poised to lead the industry to the next phase of Internet.”

As Cisco CTO, Warrior will play a key leadership role in the continued development and communication of Cisco’s technology strategy and vision, working directly for Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers.

Chambers described Warrior as a “technology visionary.”

Warrior said the next generation of the Web will be marked by “collaboration, Web 2.0 and always on demand. Cisco has been at the forefront of this shift, where the network becomes the platform to deliver the next wave of applications and services.”

Warrior, who became Motorola’s CTO under Chief Executive Chris Galvin in 2003, was credited with Motorola’s “seamless mobility” approach of having people communicating from any location over any device. Seamless mobility was adopted by Zander, 60, who joined Motorola in January 2004.

Warrior was the highest ranking female executive in Motorola’s nearly 80-year history.
“Over her distinguished career, Padmasree has demonstrated the key characteristics we prize at Cisco, including an unwavering commitment to customer success and innovation,” Chambers said. “She is a technology visionary, an excellent leader with a strong industry voice and business acumen, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our leadership team."

At Motorola, Warrior presided over the company’s $4 billion-plus research and development budget and 26,000 engineers.

The 47-year-old chemical engineer had been called a “rising star” by Fortune Magazine, but her own star may have fallen with the downturn at Motorola, which dropped to No. 3 in cell-phone sales in the third quarter after Nokia and Samsung.

Eric Jackson, a blogger, Motorola shareholder and corporate strategy governance expert, said, “I think Warrior leaving is a definite plus. She wasn’t well-liked among those I spoke with and
she also wears the lack of compelling new phones/features.”

He has called for the break-up of the company.

A company spokesman said Motorola had been realigning the technology organization since October in anticipation of Warrior leaving. Rich Nottenburg, Motorola’s chief strategy officer, was put in charge of Motorola’s overall technology vision.

Zander said Friday he will leave as CEO Jan. 1 and will be replaced by Greg Brown, Motorola’s president. Zander will leave as chairman after May’s annual meeting. The board has not named a new chairman.

Warrior said in a 2003 interview with the Sun-Times: “I know Motorola very well. I grew up in the company.” She joined the company’s semiconductor business as a chemical engineer.
She received her degree in chemical engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, New Dehli, and has a master’s degree in chemical engineering and semiconductor production.

Before being promoted to be chief technology officer, Warrior ran Motorola’s energy systems group in Atlanta.

Was the fact that she was a woman a big deal?

She told the Sun-Times, “Yes and no. I think I have one of the most challenging assignments in defining the future of the company. The fact that I’m a woman doesn’t have any significance.
But I definitely I see myself as a role model for lot of the women who want to get into engineering, not just at Motorola. Out of 250 students in my class at IIT, only seven were women. I always talk to students in elementary school to encourage more and more girls and eventually women to get into the field of science and engineering. In that context, that’s my passion, I’d like to see more diversity.”

In September, she was inducted into the Women in Information Technology International Hall of Fame. The Economic Times recently ranked Warrior the 11th Most Influential Global Indian, and she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.

Working Woman magazine honored Warrior with its “Women Elevating Science and Technology” award in 2001.

Warrior served on the boards of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet and Museum of Science and Industry, and the Chicago Mayor’s Technology Council, as well as other boards outside Chicago.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Warrior was not respected at Motorola, and ultimately that is why she left. Moto never launched a single true seamless mobility product, and she had three years when Mobile Devices created a financial umbrella to make this possible. She was never trusted with a P&L that mattered, and was largely ignored by the business units. Moreover, most of the engineers she "led" were really contracted to the business units and they drove the work--not her. Warrior had nothing to do with the development of RAZR. She is a great self-promoter, but ultimately that is her only legacy at Motorola. Cisco will be disappointed.

Jonathan Salem Baskin said...

Rising star? Huh? I'm also shocked by the free ride Warrior's parroting of the 'seamless mobility' catch-phrase has received. It simply has no meaning, at least not from an operational perspective; great quote for a journalist or analyst, but Motorola has evidenced no ability to translate it into market-winning actions. Now Cisco wants to embrace that vision? I say sell the stock.

I'm intrigued by what Brown might actually do differently at Motorola, as he was quoted in the 'other' Chicago paper saying that he believes software is important (duh). Add consumer experience to the equation, and he might actually make a difference.

My bet is on Jon Rubinstein is actually going to do at Palm. He's delivered seamlessness and mobility and lots of other good things without resorting to empty catch-phrases.

I've written about it a bit at DIM BULB if you'd like to check it out: http://dimbulb.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/12/warrior-brown-r.html

Eric Jackson said...

Good comment, jonathan. Thanks. I agree with your assessment.