October 5, 2010

Skype Taps Ex-Cisco Exec Bates As New CEO

Former Cisco Systems executive Tony Bates has been named the new CEO of Skype, the Internet communications company announced on Monday.

The 43-year-old Bates will also join Skype's board of directors, the Luxembourg-based company in charge of the popular VoIP telephone service said in a statement. He previously served as a vice president and the general manager of Cisco's enterprise, commercial, and small business division, according to various media reports.

"Skype is not only a powerful global brand but also a global technology leader in Internet communications," Bates told the AFP new agency on Monday. "There are extraordinary opportunities ahead for Skype and I am eager to lead the company through this exciting juncture in its continuing transformation."

He replaces Joshua Silverman, 42, an executive with former Skype owner eBay who has been serving as CEO for more than two years. Skype, which was founded in 2003, had been purchased by the online auction website in 2005 for $3.1 billion. However, eBay sold majority stake in the company to an investment group featuring Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Andreessen Horowitz in November 2009. The company has retained a 30-percent share in the VoIP service.

According to AFP reports, Silverman said that he was "proud to have led Skype's growth during this critical transition period"¦ The company today has over 560 million registered users in nearly every country and continues to develop products and services our customers love to use."

"With a world-class communications industry veteran like Tony, Skype is well positioned to become the communications platform of choice for consumers and businesses around the world," he added.

Sinead Carew of Reuters reports that the move comes as Skype is preparing to launch an initial public offering with an estimated worth of $1 billion. Sources have told Carew that the offering could be for 20-percent of the company, and could happen as early as the first quarter of 2011. Furthermore, the Reuters reporter notes that Cisco will have Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior expand her duties and assume Bates' role as well as her own.


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