Cisco lost a key warrior in its battle to become a monster software player this week as Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and head of the $5 billion Application Group, said he would be leaving the company effective May 3 to become CEO of cloud startup Five9.
“During Trollope’s tenure, his team reinvented Cisco’s Collaboration business, pivoting to a SaaS model and making design, simplicity and exponential improvement the guiding principles of product development,” Five9 wrote in describing its new CEO’s pedigree.
“As a result, the business returned to growth – with recurring revenue growing in the double digits, margins expanding significantly, market share increasing, and leading Cisco’s shift to recurring revenue.”
Trollope’s departure was announced in a Cisco press release about its acquisition of artificial-intelligence technology start-up Accompany for $270 million in cash. Accompany founder and CEO Amy Chang will step into Trollope’s role, Cisco said.
“Accompany’s AI technology and talent will help Cisco accelerate priority areas across its collaboration portfolio, such as providing user and company profile data in WebEx meetings,” Cisco said.
Chuck Robbins, Cisco chairman and CEO, said of Accompany: “Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to further enhance AI and machine-learning capabilities in our collaboration portfolio and continue to create amazing collaboration experiences for customers.”
Cisco said little in announcing Trollope’s move writing: “Rowan Trollope, current senior vice president and general manager of the Collaboration Technology Group is taking the next step in his career and leaving Cisco to become CEO at another company effective May 3.”
However Robbins tweeted:
Trollop tweeted in response:
Former Five9 CEO Mike Burkland, who stepped down from CEO to Executive Chairman last December due to health reasons, said of Trollope:
“Rowan’s valuable domain experience in cloud technologies and the contact center market will be a huge benefit to Five9 and we’re really fortunate to gain a leader with his experience, talent and vision. In addition, I believe Rowan has the right character and personality traits to carry on our unique and thriving culture at Five9.”