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While many of the topics we at SDxCentral cover deal with software and technology, a certain element is driving the transitions, challenges, and innovations of the software-defined world — humans. Over the year, a number of personnel changes made headlines in times of reorganization and reprioritization. Below we’ve compiled the ones that turned heads and often represented bigger trends in the industry.

Hans Vestberg Resurfaces

Hans Vestberg was hired as the executive vice president of Verizon’s new network technology team following his ousting from Ericsson last year. The telco underwent a restructuring this year that shifted focus to three areas of business: Media and Telematics; Network and Technology; and Customer and Product Operations.

Vestberg is heading Verizon’s network architecture and network assets. These include an LTE network, 5G testing, a residential fiber network, a global Internet backbone and undersea cable network, and fiber assets.

After 28 years at Ericsson Vestberg stepped down as president, CEO, and member of the board following several quarters of revenue decline for the company. Ericsson has been struggling, reducing its workforce, and it recently underwent a number of executive changes.

Diane Bryant Joins Google Cloud

Diane Bryant, coming from a long career at Intel, joined Google Cloud as its new chief operating officer. Bryant most recently headed Intel’s data center group, expanding the group’s business to cloud computing, network virtualization, and artificial intelligence. She left the company in May for personal reasons.

Bryant will work alongside Google Cloud’s CEO and SVP Diane Greene to bring greater reach and scale to the business.

HPE’s Meg Whitman Resigns

Following rumors that she would leave last year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) CEO Meg Whitman will step down from her role in February. But she will remain on the board. HPE President Antonio Neri will assume the role of CEO and president.

This follows her addressing rumors that she would step into the role of CEO at Uber in the company’s earnings call in September. At the time she said, “I’ve dedicated the last six years of my life to this company, and there is much more work to do.”

Whitman has been the company’s CEO since 2011 and has overseen a number of changes to transition HP to HPE. Her replacement Neri has been at HP since 1995 and was named president by Whitman last June. Neri is responsible for HPE Next, which internally is known as its restructuring program.

Jonathan Davidson Ditches Juniper for Cisco

Juniper Networks Executive Vice President and General Manager of Development and Innovation Jonathan Davidson resigned. Davidson has been at the company since 2010 and came at the same time as the company reorganized to support its innovation transformation strategy.

Just days later, Cisco announced he had joined its service provider business unit as the senior vice president and general manager of service provider networking. He reports to Yvette Kanouff, the general manager of Cisco’s service provider business.

Last month, Juniper told investors in an earnings call that it was realigning its workforce.

Neela Jacques Leaves OpenDaylight

Neela Jacques left his position as executive director of OpenDaylight to join Bain Capital Ventures as an entrepreneur in residence. According to Jacques, the position is short term to work on four or five ideas for potential startups.

Jacques had been the executive director of OpenDaylight since November 2013 where he had overseen the growth and success of its open software-defined networking (SDN) project. Phil Robb, who was the senior director of networking solutions at the Linux Foundation, stepped in as the interim executive director.

Rima Qureshi Joins Verizon

Rima Qureshi left her role as head of Ericsson North America in May. Qureshi had been at Ericsson since 1993 and was named the head of North America in March. Her most notable contribution was her role as chief strategy officer in building the Ericsson and Cisco collaboration. However, amidst Ericsson’s struggles the companies recently stepped back from the collaboration and announced they would miss the $1 billion revenue mark for the partnership.

At the time of her resignation Ericsson wouldn’t name her new employer, but in September Qureshi was named Verizon’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer. She replaced Roy Chestnutt who left to pursue outside endeavors.

In this new role Qureshi will oversee Verizon’s corporate strategy including business development and strategic investments.

Juniper Snatches Bikash Koley from Google

Bikash Koley joined Juniper Networks as its chief technology officer. Koley left his role as head of network architecture, engineering, and planning at Google. In that position he oversaw technologies such as SDN, packet and optical network integration, warehouse-scale computing, and large-scale data center interconnection. In addition, he designed Google’s production network infrastructure.

At Juniper Koley will lead the company’s technology strategy and oversee technical operations such as Contrail and AppFormix. In a recent conversation with SDxCentral Koley noted that he was tasked with simplifying the network and leveraging automation to tackle the problems of the multi-cloud.

Citrix CEO Leaves (Again)

Citrix President and CEO Kirill Tatarinov stepped down from his role, the company’s second CEO to do so in about a year. It was deemed a “mutual separation decision. Tatarinov, formerly a Microsoft executive, joined Citrix in January of 2016. David Henshall Citrix’s CFO and COO replaced Tatarinov.

The company has recently been shifting its focus to its NetScaler networking and software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) business and to its subscription models.

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