Breaking: Cisco Exec to Take Over as Skype CEO

Cisco Systems (s CSCO) veteran Tony Bates is taking over as the CEO of Skype. He’ll replace Josh Silverman, who is leaving the company for undisclosed reasons. The news of Silverman’s pending exit was first reported by Erick Schonfeld.

Bates is a well regarded executive who handles Cisco’s Enterprise division, and in the past, handled their carrier-focused operations. As part of my reporting duties, I’ve talked to Bates on many occasions and have found him to be a straight shooter. I first talked to him back in the day when he was working for InternetMCI. He’s a good candidate to replace Silverman, who has done a remarkable job of stabilizing what was an operation on the verge of tipping over.

Silverman restored morale, and more importantly, helped with the spinoff of Skype as a separate company. He had an impossible task of managing a massive board of directors, many of them with big egos and bigger wallets. It can’t be easy to do that job on a daily basis. From what I’ve heard, the Skype board has been very stingy about giving out options to their employees, including folks like Josh.

Bates’ hiring is indicative of three things:

  • Skype is dead serious about an initial public offering (IPO).
  • The company isn’t looking to sell out anytime soon.
  • Skype is about to make a deeper push into carrier and enterprise markets.

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