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Oliver Roll joined Cisco in late 2016 after leaving his previous role as CCO at VMware. In his new role, he reports to CMO Karen Walker — and joined Cisco after a number of departures from the company's communications function over the past couple of years. In 2015, senior corporate comms director John Earnhardt left the company, followed by David McCulloch (to GE) and Melissa Selcher (to LinkedIn) this year.
Walker, who replaced CMO Blair Christie last year, said that Roll would "lead analyst and public relations, executive and employee communications and office of the CEO communications."
"Our job is to help our customers navigate this complexity—so there’s never been a better time to tell the Cisco story clearly and concisely," said Walker. "That’s why I’m so excited to announce that Oliver Roll is joining Cisco as our new SVP and chief communications officer."
Prior to joining VMware in 2013, Roll spent more than 20 years at Microsoft in a variety of marketing and comms posts across the UK, Asia and the US.
Can you share a moment in your career that you recognized PR's direct impact on business performance?
Cisco's recent launch of its intent based networking portfolio. Our brand idea, story and messaging were perfectly aligned with the substance of the technologies being launched. Customers are excited about the business value, analysts are reporting on the superior innovation, and employees are confident about Cisco's leadership in the industry.
What are the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
In this world starved of time, communications is being distilled into fewer characters, shorter pieces, and pictures that compete for attention. Communications must somehow help people create the time and space for a deeper understanding of the issues and perspectives that matter - whether in business or to help solve the world's most pressing problems.
How do you handle the unexpected?
1. Get the facts 2. Identify options 3. Assess upside and risk for each option 4. Decide and act 5. Communicate constantly
How do you relax?
A couple of hours with coffee and the newspapers - the print editions!! And equally relaxing - a 45 minute spin class at Flywheel sports - it's loud, it's dark, it's invigorating!!
Book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
Thank You for Smoking (2005)
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
A late night talk show host on radio or TV
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