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From global CIO to SVP of Customer Transformation: Guillermo Diaz takes on inaugural role at Cisco

From global CIO to SVP of Customer Transformation: Guillermo Diaz takes on inaugural role at Cisco

It is a “sideways” move and I am doing something I am passionate about, connecting with customers, says Diaz, who joined the vendor in 2000

We have to reinvent, we have to transform ourselves

Guillermo Diaz Jr, Cisco

“I have a great team, and have been with them for many years. It was a hard decision to make,” says Guillermo Diaz Jr, who has left his global CIO role at Cisco to become senior vice president for customer transformation.

It is a new role, he says, he tells CIO New Zealand, but he will be doing something he is passionate about, “working with customers”. The new CIO at Cisco is Jacqueline Guichelaar, who was group CIO at Thomson Reuters.

“We have been doing a lot of successful things for Cisco,” adds Diaz. “How do I go and help the customer trying to do the same things? We are asking them to use Cisco products to digitise the business. Well, we have done a lot of that so how can we help them accelerate that?”

‘It is also two-way learning,” he says.

“We will take what we are doing and what we see everyday as customer zero [of Cisco], whether data centre, network or security. We will be hearing from customers and bring those together back to our engineering organisations to bring a better product, to better support organisations.”

“If there is pain, we feel it as well. We will make sure we will help bridge those issues.

Talking about his new role at Cisco, he says, “We have to reinvent, we have to transform ourselves.”

Jacqueline Guichelaar
Jacqueline Guichelaar

Diaz joined Cisco in 2000 after holding senior leadership positions in Silicon Valley, including director of global network services for Silicon Graphics, senior director of IT for Intelligent Electronics (Ingram Micro), and manager of telecommunications for Alza Corporation.

He began his career in telecommunications with the US Navy, where a military scholarship led to his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Regis University in Colorado.

“I am a lifelong technology and IT person,” he says. “I started learning networking, telecommunications and security in the military and was able to transfer that to the business environment.”

When he was told he needs to go to the business applications side, he asked, “why would I do that? I am an infrastructure guy connecting with all the different business groups.”

But he found the experience useful.“When you look out at the bridge, you get different perspectives,” he says.

He says ‘stretch assignments’ and extended roles can inspire CIOs.

“In any role, take with the mindset that you are going to learn more,” he says. “So long as you are growing, you are adding to your portfolio, you are learning. It is part of your transformation.”

Divina Paredes attended Cisco Live 2019 in Melbourne as a guest of Cisco

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