Cisco taps veteran SaaS CFO as new finance chief

Cisco taps veteran SaaS CFO as new finance chief

Dive Brief:

  • Network-equipment company Cisco Systems named software industry veteran R. Scott Herren its CFO Thursday to prioritize its software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, including its WebEx video conferencing and cloud offerings.

  • The San Jose, California-based company said Herren will start as CFO December 18, following his departure from design-software company Autodesk, where he has led finance since 2014.

  • Herren succeeds Cisco’s CFO of five years, Kelly Kramer, whose intention to retire was announced in August. Kramer has remained in the role through the company’s replacement search process.

Dive Insight:

“With a background in software, Scott will be instrumental in helping us accelerate our shift toward a software-based business model,” Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said.

“[Scott] brings an incredible background in software and helped lead Autodesk’s successful business model transformation from perpetual licenses to SaaS and subscription software,” Robbins said in Cisco’s first quarter earnings report, also released Thursday. “As we continue our strong progress on our business model shift and sell more of our solutions as a service, Scott’s depth of expertise in this area will help us accelerate our transition.”

Though it beat estimates, the company saw its fourth consecutive quarter of declining revenue, totaling $11.9 billion for the period ended October 24, a 9% decrease from the same period last year. Kramer attributed the drop to fewer enterprise and commercial orders for applications systems and reduced use of its infrastructure platforms amid the pandemic. 

San Rafael, California-based Autodesk said in a separate Thursday statement it has begun its search for Herren’s successor. “Scott was instrumental in helping Autodesk successfully navigate [its] business model transition,” company president and CEO Andrew Anagnost said.

At Autodesk, Herren helped lead a shift from sales of perpetual licenses to recurring subscriptions and software as a service (SaaS). 

In August, Herren said the SaaS model provides a steadier source of revenue and lets the company provide new innovations to customers on a frequent basis instead of just once a year, according to the Wall Street Journal. “It’s easier for [customers] to absorb,” he said.

Herren also managed Autodesk’s investments in cloud-based software capabilities, the Journal said, which aided in customers’ pivot to remote work during the pandemic.

Herren began his career directing finance and operations at IBM, and then spent three years as VP of Finance at FedEx. He then spent nearly 15 years in various finance and operations leadership roles at Citrix Systems, another SaaS giant, before landing at Autodesk in 2014.

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2020-11-17 04:02:35

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