A dynamic and transformational senior executive and leader, Don has an exceptional record of accomplishment leading global R&D teams for organizations ranging from start-ups to large, multinational corporations. A strategic and hands on champion of change, Don’s experience spans operations, product, and engineering. He has established himself as a trusted business partner who consistently creates business value through innovation and large-scale transformational projects. Don cultivates strong working relationships with diverse internal and external cross-functional teams, business leaders and stakeholders up to C-suite, and has built an extensive professional network that includes U.S. security agencies, private equity and venture capitalists. With an exceptional depth of experience and international perspective, Don has led teams while residing in the UAE, India, the US and Estonia, in addition to oversight for staff in Australia, Japan, China, Russia, the Czech Republic and the UK.
Don is advisor and investor to multiple private equity companies and startups working as fractional CEO, CPO and Advisor to CEOs in 2023. He has held key leadership positions resulting in multiple successful exits including MayaData as CEO, & COO, Polycom as CDO/EVP of Engineering, Skype as Head of Core Engineering, and VP and Head of Cisco Central Engineering.
As EVP and Head of Worldwide Engineering for Polycom (a global communications company and leader in video, voice and content solutions), Don led 1,000 Collaboration Engineers, budget of $100M, in positioning the business for private equity purchase by Plantronics in 2018. Don drove the transformation of nine global sites, including Operations, Engineering Methodologies, and Communications, and increased hardware productivity 200%+ and software productivity 50%+.
From 2013-2017, Don served as an Advisor and/or Founder to several Silicon Valley startups, including Office ToGo (ITaaS cloud computing company) and Autonometry (orchestration of Networks, Cloud and IoT). He was also VP and Head of Engineering for Prysm, a software company focused on next generation digital workspaces and content sharing solutions.
As VP R&D for Skype from 2010-2012, working in both California and Eastern Europe (Prague and Tallin), Don adeptly led 250+ staff, $60M budget, in the transformation of Skype Engineering Services to Agile processes, speeding time to market dramatically. Don was also the key management leader developing Skype’s integration with Facebook for voice, video and chat capabilities. He also reduced shipping time significantly, resulting in $8.5B Microsoft acquisition.
Don’s extensive tenure with Cisco from 1996-2010 is marked by progressively higher levels of responsibility, where he led the most teams winning Pioneer Awards (Cisco’s highest technology award). In his last role with Cisco as VP R&D, Service Provider Technologies Group, Don conceived the company’s development strategy in India, transferring to Bangalore to lead over 1,400 staff and contractors in innovating a new vision, partner ecosystems, engineering processes, communications and talent development models, supporting $5B of Cisco’s annual product revenues. New innovations raised productivity levels to the highest ever witnessed in India. Don chaired four Global Transformation Boards in India, including Safety, Talent Strategy, Engineering and Business. Earlier, as VP R&D, Network Software and Services Group, Don led development of Cisco’s Next Generation Modular Software Architectures utilized in the world’s biggest router (CRS), 12K and 6500.
Don holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Chico State University in California. A recognized software industry expert, Don has been invited to speak at industry forums and conferences, and most notably served as Keynote Speaker at the HCL WW Summit 2008, speaking after Al Gore, and the ISSRE Symposium on Software Reliability 2009. Don maintains residences in both Austin, Texas and Sandpoint Idaho.