Cisco marketing veteran Karen Walker departs after a decade

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Cisco’s chief marketing officer Karen Walker has left the company after 10 years.

It is understood that Walker is to move to computing giant Intel to head its marketing.

A spokesperson for Cisco said: “Cisco can confirm that Karen Walker has left Cisco. We’d like to thank Karen for the part she has played in our success to date and we wish her all of the best for the next stage of her career journey.”

Gerri Elliott will continue to lead the sales and marketing organization as chief sales and marketing officer, supported by Jim Walsh as SVP growth marketing.

Walker joined Cisco from Hewlett-Packard in 2009 as vice predicent of marketing and communications. She went on to head up segment, services and partner marketing before assuming the top global marketing tole in 2015.

According to her company bio she was a “champion of marketing’s role as an accountable business function aligning closely with sales teams” and was a key participant in Cisco’s Connected Women programme.

Her past year in the role has been focused on simplifying the business and products.

Intel has been without a marketer at its helm since the departure of Steve Fund in April 2018. During his four years in the role, Fund professed to helping grow revenue to over $14bn and “doubling” the brand contribution to company value.

He has since been a marketing consultant and continued to work with Intel on “special projects for the company” according to a memo sent by chief executive Brian Krzanich at the time.

However, Krzanich shortly left the business following an internal investigation that into a relationship he had with an Intel employee which violated its “non-fraternization policy.”

Chief financial officer Robert Swan has been leading the company since June 2018.

Walker said Swan has “clear thoughts” on where he wants to take the company but it needs “help in making that story really clear.”

Swan added: “Karen is a truly a world-class CMO. She has deep experience with many of our most valued customers and a keen understanding of what it will take to play an even larger role in their success. We are excited to have Karen on our leadership team.”

Walker will report to Michelle Johnston Holthaus, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s sales, marketing and communications group.

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