Networking vendor reorganizes business groups, name new executives
David Goeckeler, the longtime Cisco executive who most recently oversaw the networking giant’s $34 billion networking and security business, is now the CEO of data storage vendor Western Digital.
The Lowdown: Todd Nightingale, who came to Cisco in 2012 when the company bought wireless networking vendor Meraki for $1.2 billion, will take over Goeckeler’s position, with the title of senior vice president of enterprise networking and cloud. He had been senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Meraki.
The Details: Goeckeler, who had been at Cisco for 19 years, had been a key partner for Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins in recent years as the company has undergone a shift away from being a hardware maker primarily reliant on direct, one-time sales to more of a software, solutions, and services vendor that is seeing more of its business come via the channel.
He is replacing Richard Milligan, who had been Western Digital’s CEO since 2013 and in October 2019 announced his retirement.
As executive vice president and general manager of the Networking and Security Group, Goeckeler oversaw more than 25,000 engineers. With Western Digital, he takes over a 50-year-old company that has evolved into a data storage and management vendor based in San Jose, California, and with more than 72,000 employees.
It’s also a company in transition. Western Digital in September 2019 sold its IntelliFlash storage array unit to DDN and put up its ActiveScale archival storage unit for sale as part of a larger initiative by the company to get out of the storage system market and focus more on its data center systems business, including the OpenFlex composable infrastructure efforts and fabric-attached storage technologies.
The Impact: According to FierceTelecom, Cisco this month also established new business groups, such as Nightingale’s Enterprise Networking and Cloud Group. Other divisions focus on such areas as hardware platforms, security and applications, and collaboration. It was unclear whether Goeckeler’s departure prompted the reorganization of the business groups.
Background: Goeckeler’s appointment came the same week Western Digital unveiled new WD Gold NVMe SSDs aimed at small and midscale enterprises.
The Buzz: “David is a transformative leader with an exceptional track record of driving highly profitable, core businesses at scale while innovating successful business strategies that expanded into new markets and generated new revenue sources,” Western Digital Board Chairman Matthew Massengil said. “With experience as a software engineer as well as running large semiconductor development projects, his breadth of technology expertise, business acumen and history of building and operating world-class organizations make him the right person to lead Western Digital in a world increasingly driven by applications and data.”
“The industry is facing an exciting inflection point where customers of every size, vertical and geography are deploying business infrastructure that is software-driven, enabled by data and powered by the cloud. This megatrend has only just now reached an initial stage of adoption and will drive a massive wave of new opportunity,” Goeckeler said. “In this IT landscape, the explosive growth of connected devices will continue fueling an ever-increasing demand for access to data. With large-scale hard disk drive and semiconductor memory franchises, Western Digital is strongly positioned to capitalize on this emerging opportunity and push the boundaries of both software and physical hardware innovation within an extremely important layer of the technology stack. Over the last decade, Western Digital has built a highly-regarded platform that helps customers derive real value from their data.”
“We are proud to support David [Goeckeler] as he takes on his new role as CEO,” Cisco officials said in a statement to the media. “We thank him for his leadership and for delivering incredible innovation at Cisco. We are always looking to build the strongest portfolio and platforms for the future.”