Cisco Systems said Mike Volpi, viewed by many as one of the top candidates for the future leadership of the network equipment maker, has resigned, effective immediately.
The departure of Volpi, head of Cisco's top-selling routing equipment division, appeared to clear the path for Chief Development Officer Charles Giancarlo, 49, eventually to succeed Chief Executive John Chambers, 56.
Volpi, 40, was general manager of the routing and service provider technology group and reported to Giancarlo, but both were widely viewed by analysts as the top two candidates to
succeed Chambers. Both have worked at Cisco for 13 years.
Cisco said Giancarlo will remain in his role but will have more officials report directly to him as part of a management reshuffle.
Volpi, who led 75 acquisitions through 1994 to 2001 and was also responsible for Scientific-Atlanta after Cisco acquired the cable set-top box maker last year, said his departure was a personal decision.