Volpi in at Joost
As has been rumored and even reported on last week, sources say former Cisco exec Mike Volpi will be announced later tonight by Joost as its new CEO.
Volpi knows the founders of the online video service, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, as he has served on the board of their last hit, Skype.
Before he left, Volpi was in line to run Cisco, which is now under the leadership of CEO John Chambers. But as the ebullient Chambers told me in an interview onstage at D last week, he was not planning any move from the tech giant anytime soon (not even for an offer made onstage by Sen. John McCain at the conference to serve in the cabinet if he won his presidential bid).
The company needs a tech-savvy CEO, and one familiar with Silicon Valley, given that it recently got a $45 million boost of cash from a group of big venture firms and media companies, as I wrote here, including Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital, as well as CBS.
While a lot of Joost’s success rests on getting a lot of great content for its service to deliver quality video content on the Web, how well it works and how easy it is to use (not so easy in my beta tests, so far) will be key to its success. And also how it works with all its multiple partners.
In that vein, Volpi is a good choice. Though his last Cisco title sounded geekish–SVP of Routing and Service Provider Technology Group–he was deeply involved in all of the company’s wheeling and dealing, including its aggressive acquisition sprees.
He was born in Italy, lived in Japan, attended Stanford University and also worked at Hewlett-Packard, so he is also perhaps a perfect balance of international and local (tech-wise) for the internationally based Joost.
Interestingly, sources told me that Volpi also talked to Yahoo about running its Audience Group.