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Skype names senior Cisco exec Bates as CEO

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Skype named Tony Bates, a top executive at Cisco Systems CSCO.O as its next chief executive ahead of an estimated $1 billion initial public offering from the Internet telephone provider.

Skype, which is partly owned by eBay EBAY.O, said Bates will join later this month, replacing Joshua Silverman, an eBay executive who has been CEO since early 2008. In the meantime Skype Chief Financial Officer Adrian Dillon will act as CEO.

Bates is relocating from California to Skype’s Luxembourg headquarters, after serving as general manager of Cisco’s enterprise, commercial and small business division.

The news comes amid expectations Cisco is poised to compete more directly with consumer services such as Skype’s video chat service. Cisco has said that later this week it will announce a consumer product, widely expected to be video conferencing for consumers.

At Cisco, Bates, 43, reported to Chief Executive John Chambers and was responsible for $20 billion of annual revenue and managed over 12,500 employees around the world. He worked at Cisco for nearly 15 years.

Skype, which has set a target of reaching annual revenue of $1 billion by the end of 2011, was founded in 2003.

The company could raise about $1 billion in its initial public offering, according to three sources familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because they did not have permission to speak publicly about the matter.

The offering could be for 20 percent of the company, according to one source. The IPO could happen as early as the first quarter of 2011 but may change, another source said.

Skype was bought by eBay in 2005 for $3.1 billion. Last November, EBay sold a majority stake to an investor group including Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Andreessen Horowitz for $1.9 billion in cash and a $125 million note. EBay retained a 30 percent stake in Skype.

The management change is the latest of several that Skype’s new owners have made, including making Dillon CFO and adding a new chief legal officer and a chief marketing officer.

Cisco said its Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior would expand her role to take on Bates’s duties.

Additional reporting by Clare Baldwin, Soyoung Kim and Ritsuko Ando; editing by Leslie Gevirtz, Gary Hill

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