Skype said Monday that it had named a key Cisco executive, Tony Bates, to serve as the company’s chief executive officer.
Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technical officer, will take over Bates’ role as the senior vice president and general manager of its enterprise, commercial and small business development business, which generates $20 billion per year, Cisco said.
Bates will join in October; before that, Adrian Dillon, Skype’s chief financial officer, will serve as chief executive officer. Josh Silverman, Skype’s existing chief executive, will apparently leave the company.
“Skype is not only a powerful global brand but also a global technology leader in Internet communications,” Bates said in a statement. “There are extraordinary opportunities ahead for Skype and I am eager to lead the company through this exciting juncture in its continuing transformation. I look forward to working with Skype’s management team and talented employees to engineer the next wave of game-changing products and services for our users.”
“We are thrilled to bring on Tony Bates as Skype’s new CEO,” said Miles Flint, Skype’s chairman, in a statement. “His record of achievement and significant operational and management expertise, cultivated over a distinguished tenure at one of the world’s preeminent technology companies, presents a unique opportunity for Skype that we are enthusiastic to embrace.”
In November 2009, eBay said it would spin off Skype to an investment group, with co-founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis receiving 14 percent of the stock. In August, Skype filed for a public offering worth an estimated $100 million.
Skype now has 560 million registered users in nearly every country, providing free VOIP calls to other Skype subscribers and charging low per-minute rates to landlines and mobile phones. Skype reportedly plans to connect users via Facebook, and its technology also appears on mobile phones – for now, exclusively on Verizon within the United States.
At the time of the IPO filing, Skype said that its total number of connected users – those who actively use the service – grew from 52 million in 2007 to 124 million. Those that pay to use Skype, however, still represent a small fraction, growing 4.6 million at the end of 2007 to 8.1 million at the end of June, bringing in an average of $96 per user.
Warrior, meanwhile, will take over Bates’ roles, according to a blog post by John Earnhardt, a director of communications at Cisco. “This is the heart of Cisco’s business and we are fortunate to have the talent of an (ahem) warrior take over this industry leading team of over 10,000 world-class engineering talent.”
Warrior has served as chief technical officer at Cisco since Dec. 2007; before that, she was CTO at Motorola.