- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Cisco Systems Inc.’s chief strategy officer, who was responsible for scouting for acquisition opportunities, has left for an investment fund, the company said Tuesday.

Ned Hooper had been on the short list of possible successors to CEO John Chambers when talk swirled last year of Chambers stepping down. However, Cisco’s results have improved after a rough patch, and speculation about Chambers‘ departure has died down.

Hooper’s responsibilities will be taken over by Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior, Chambers said in a blog post.

Hooper, 45, will form an independent investment partnership, and Chambers said that “we look forward to partnering with him.”

Before becoming chief strategy officer in 2009, Hooper was the head of Cisco Systems Inc.’s consumer business. Altogether, he spent 13 years with Cisco, and was the driving force behind the acquisitions of Tandberg, WebEx, Starent and Pure Digital.

Tandberg and WebEx shored up Cisco’s teleconferencing business, and Starent strengthened its portfolio of products for cellphone companies. But the acquisition of Pure Digital, which made the Flip Video camcorders, ended badly, as Cisco shut the division down just two years after buying it.

Hooper also managed Cisco’s $2 billion investment portfolio.

Warrior, 51, had been leading Cisco’s engineering organization together with Pankaj Patel, another senior vice president. As she assumes responsibility for strategy, she will yield control of engineering to Patel, Cisco said.

Shares of Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., was unchanged at $16.93 in afternoon trading.

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