Cisco CFO Retires

Dennis Powell stood up to Congress and FASB during his tenure.

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Cisco Systems Inc., the computer networking giant, announced Tuesday that CFO Dennis Powell will retire in February.

The company said Powell will be replaced by Frank Calderoni, its senior vice president of consumer finance. Calderoni joined Cisco from QLogic in 2004, where he was CFO and senior vice president. He was also finance chief of SanDisk and a division CFO at IMB, where he worked for 21 years. Calderoni’s brother, Robert, is CEO of Ariba Inc.

Powell joined Cisco in 1997 as corporate controller. In May 2003, he was promoted to CFO. He previously worked at Coopers and Lybrand for 26 years. Powell was instrumental in developing Cisco’s “virtual close” system, allowing it to close the company books worldwide in less than a day and provide real-time access to financial metrics.

In 2004, Powell was a vocal critic of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s proposal to require companies to expense the value of employee stock options. At the time he argued that expensing options would make it more difficult to hire, motivate, and retain employees.

Powell also took on Congress while at Cisco. During a Senate hearing about eliminating pooling of interests accounting, Powell warned that the proposal “will certainly stifle technology development, impede capital formation, and slow job creation in this country.”

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