PacketFabric hires Cisco CTO Dave Ward as new CEO

Dave Ward ex Cisco.jpg

Cisco’s CTO Dave Ward has joined network-as-a-service company PacketFabric as CEO.

Ward had spent 18 years at Cisco, in two separate phases, with two years at Juniper in between, where he was Juniper Fellow.

“I’ve been privileged to drive innovation for Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks,” said Ward (pictured). “PacketFabric is fundamentally rethinking enterprise and service communications in a way that others have not.” Former CEO Chad Milam is now listed on PacketFabric’s website as president and COO.

Ward rejoined Cisco in 2011 as Cisco Fellow and the following year became the company’s CTO of engineering and chief architect.

“I believe PacketFabric can lead and positively disrupt the next phase of transformation for the networking industry,” he said.

Rick Shrotri, managing partner at Digital Alpha, the investment firm that owns California-based PacketFabric, said: “Dave is an industry luminary and one of the very few ‘big internet’ architectural systems thinkers, and we are fortunate to attract him to PacketFabric.”

There are ties between Digital Alpha’s portfolio and Cisco: it has a strategic collaboration agreement which gives Digital Alpha has preferred access to Cisco’s pipeline of commercial opportunities requiring equity financing.

Ward – who joined Cisco in 1999 when the company acquired the Internet Engineering Group – “brings unmatched networking and telecommunications expertise, business acumen and senior industry relationships”, said Shrotri.

Last August Digital Alpha announced a US$75 million joint venture investment with PacketFabric to develop its network offering.  

That announcement quoted Cisco senior VP Jonathan Davidson saying: “PacketFabric is a modern-day telco that provides fully automated WAN connectivity for agile network services that are provisioned on-demand in a cloud-like model. They’re using innovative SR-MPLS on top of Cisco’s market leading NCS 5500 product portfolio. We’re very happy to have them as a partner.”