Shaila Shankar promoted to Cisco security boss

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Gee Rittenhouse, Cisco’s security senior vice president for the last five years, is exiting the company, according to a memo sent to employees. Shaila Shankar, Cisco’s current senior vice president and general manager of cloud and network security, is stepping up as leader of Cisco’s Security Business Group, effective immediately.

Shankar is the first woman to lead the Cisco Security business, which is valued at more than $3.3 billion, according to the San Jose, California based company. Shankar joined Cisco in June. Prior to her short tenure with the company, the longtime security leader spent a collective eight years at McAfee, most recently serving as senior vice president of engineering for the last two and a half years and three years as general manager of mobile and ISP solutions. She also spent more than six years as Intel’s vice president of consumer and mobile engineering for the company’s security business.

As executive vice president and general manager of the Security Business Group, Shankar will report to Jeetu Patel, Cisco’s executive vice president and general manager, security and collaboration.

“Shankar has impressed her peers and the executive leadership team alike. Her background in cloud security combined with her deep expertise in building and designing products makes her the perfect leader to take our business to the next level as we transform security industry wide. And transformation starts not only with product, but with culture as well,” Patel said in the memo to employees. “We are thrilled that Shankar will be the first woman to run Cisco’s security business, in an industry that needs far more talent like her. I can’t wait to see what the team can accomplish under her leadership.”

Rittenhouse will stay on for several months to help with the transition, Cisco said.
Patel also shared that Alfred Hugar, Cisco‘s current vice president and general manager, Security Platform and Response, is being promoted to senior vice president and will report to Shankar.