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Cisco’s long-standing UK and Ireland CEO, Phil Smith, has announced he is stepping down from the role after 22 years, and will be transitioning to the role of chair of Cisco UK and Ireland on a part-time basis.
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Smith, who joined Cisco in 1994, has steered the business through an unprecedented period of change in the IT industry as the networking sector has developed and grown.
More recently he has turned his attention to the challenges presented to enterprises by digitisation, and in his role as chair of both Innovate UK and The Tech Partnership he has taken a keen interest in the development of the industry beyond Cisco’s doors.
“Through my work with government and industry I have had a unique opportunity to help the UK build on its unmatched ability to innovate, to be inventive and to encourage that passion in the next generation,” said Smith.
“There has never been a more crucial time for us to realise the potential of UK industry,” he added. “We continue to invest in the UK, both in the business and as a nation. In 2015 we announced our commitment to invest $1bn in the UK. A year on and I am thrilled with the progress that we have seen so far.”
Earlier in 2016, in an interview with Computer Weekly, Smith said both the UK and its European neighbours were particularly challenged by falling productivity. He suggested that rapid digitisation of key industries would help enterprises compete against those that were born in the cloud.
“If we don’t get digital sorted out, then Europe is going to have significant problems sustaining productivity and competitiveness,” he said.
This has been thrown into stark relief by many in the tech industry following the economic challenges unleashed by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU). However, it is understood that Smith’s decision is entirely unrelated to Brexit.
Smith’s replacement has already been named as insider Scot Gardner. Currently vice president of global service provider for Emear, Gardner joined Cisco in 1997 and has worked in multiple roles around the business, including in sales management, business development and overall leadership of Cisco’s UK financial services organisation. He will take over the reins immediately.
“I look forward to working with Scot and I wish him every success in what I truly see as one of the best jobs in the world,” said Smith. ... ... ... ... ... ...