Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero, and Soni Jiandani have all resigned from Cisco, effective June 17, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, based on an internal memo posted today by Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.
The reason for the resignations, given in the memo, “is based on a disconnect regarding roles, responsibilities and charter.” This disconnect became obvious immediately after last week’s news that Mazzola, Jain, and Cafiero had been moved to advisory roles within the company and that Jiandani would run the Insieme business unit.
The MPLS team, which joined Cisco in 1993, created several successful spin-ins for the company. (The MPLS moniker is an inside joke, pulling the first letter from each of these executives’ first names, which also happens to refer to a transport technology).
Instead of doing normal product development, the MPLS team would be given more R&D freedom to develop products in a quasi-startup environment that Cisco funded and then often acquired. These products became known as spin-ins of which Insieme is one. Insieme includes Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).
The spin-in scheme resulted in these executives making millions of dollars more than other Cisco employees, which did create some internal resentments.
The big surprise today is Jiandani’s resignation. There had already been speculation that Mazzola, Jain, and Cafiero would likely move on to more interesting challenges now that their spin-in projects were mature. But last week it looked as if Jiandani would wield some major power at Cisco. That will not be.