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Shelly Blackburn. Screengrab via Cisco.

Cisco Overhauls Security Leadership After Top Exec Resigns

Photo: Shelly Blackburn. Screengrab via Cisco.

Shelly Blackburn, Cisco’s vice president of global security specialists and one of its longest-serving sales executives, is stepping down after more than 22 years at the company, she told colleagues this week. The announcement preceded a shake-up of its unit selling security software, which CEO Chuck Robbins has framed as a crucial part of the company’s efforts to branch out from its core network hardware business.

Blackburn has been overseeing Cisco’s Global Security Sales Specialist Organization, which was formed in 2015 as an independent unit within the company to market its sales portfolio to customers and provide technical support. In an internal call this week and an email sent to staff Tuesday morning, Blackburn said she was leaving for personal reasons, according to a current Cisco employee and the email, which was viewed by The Information. The company also announced a restructuring of its security product teams on Tuesday, including the hiring of Raj Chopra, former VP for product management at enterprise security firm Proofpoint.

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