By Nina Trentmann and Mark Maurer 

Cisco Systems Inc. on Wednesday said finance chief Kelly Kramer plans to leave the network-equipment company after more than five years in the position.

Ms. Kramer, who took on the role of chief financial officer in January 2015, will stay on until a successor has been found and will assist with the recruitment process, Chief Executive Chuck Robbins said during the company's earnings call.

"Kelly has made the decision to retire from Cisco," Mr. Robbins said, according to a transcript. Ms. Kramer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

She joined the San Jose, Calif.-based company in 2012 as senior vice president of corporate finance and became senior vice president of business technology and operations finance before ascending to the CFO position.

Before her time at Cisco, Ms. Kramer worked at General Electric Co. for about 20 years, including a 10-year stint at the company's health care arm.

Ms. Kramer led Cisco through dozens of acquisitions, including most recently of Modcam, a video analytics company, and ThousandEyes Inc., a network intelligence firm. Under her leadership, Cisco developed a record of successfully integrating other businesses.

"Kelly has led the effort to improve our financial performance, focused on investor confidence, and helped position Cisco for success," Mr. Robbins said on the earnings call.

It is not clear yet what Ms. Kramer's exit package will look like. She made $13.6 million in total compensation in 2019, which included a salary of $850,000. She earned a total of $8.8 million in 2017 and $11.5 million in 2018, according to Cisco's most recent proxy statement.

The news of her departure came as Cisco reported a 9% decline in sales in its latest quarter and said it would restructure its operations. The company didn't specify how many jobs it would shed but forecast charges of about $900 million before taxes, according to a filing with regulators.

Cisco cut costs earlier in the year amid declining sales and said some customers had reduced technology investments because of economic uncertainty and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new CFO will have to develop strategies for revenue growth and allocate funds to acquire new customers, said Amit Daryanani, an analyst at advisory firm Evercore ISI.

"The timing of her leaving, while maybe not optimal, doesn't reflect on the challenge of this company," Mr. Daryanani said, referring to Ms. Kramer. "The challenges they have are revenue centric," he added, pointing to the coronavirus pandemic and the weakening of the U.S. economy.

The average tenure of chief financial officers at S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies has been trending lower and stood at 4.46 years in 2019, down from 5.1 in 2018, according to the Crist|Kolder Volatility Report, which tracks recruitment trends in corporate leadership.

Write to Nina Trentmann and Mark Maurer at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com

and Mark. Maurer@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 12, 2020 21:30 ET (01:30 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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