Cisco India and SAARC President Dinesh Malkani has put in his papers at the networking solutions giant to take on a leadership role at a startup. Malkani will continue in his role until July 31 and remain associated with Cisco till the end of September, according to sources. The development comes at a time when Cisco is betting big on the Digital India wave in the country. The company is engaged in 50 digitisation projects and is working with six states on various digitisation initiatives.
When contacted, Cisco confirmed the development. "Dinesh has played a key role in driving our growth, talent and digital transformation initiatives in India... This is a perfect time for a new leader to build on that foundation," Cisco Asia-Pacific and Japan President Irving Tan said in an emailed response. Cisco continues to execute on its long-term strategic focus on India through its investments in innovation, skills development and digital transformation, he added.
Sources said the company has already conducted an internal and external search for Malkanis replacement and will make an announcement in the next two weeks. Malkani was not available for comments. He had joined Cisco in 2010 to lead the collaboration technologies team in Asia Pacific, Japan and China. He is now believed to be taking up a leadership role at a startup in India but details of the same could not be ascertained.
Interestingly, Cisco has invested in over 25 startups in the country. India is a key market for Cisco. It is witnessing a double-digit growth and accounts for a significant portion of the companys global headcount, with a majority of them in R&D roles. Cisco has recently commenced manufacturing operations in Pune and eventually plans to scale it up to make the country an export hub. Besides, it has committed investments of over USD 100 million in 2016. Of this, USD 40 million was allocated for funding early-stage and growth-stage companies in areas like Internet of Things (IoT), security and smart cities.
Rest of the funds will go towards opening six new innovation labs and as many centres of excellence (CoE) and skill development.