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Jayshree Ullal: Shaping the Future of Networking


In the dynamic realm of technology and networking, Jayshree Ullal stands out as a symbol of innovation, leadership, and triumph. Born on March 27, 1961, in London and raised in New Delhi, India, she has become a distinguished figure in the global networking industry, ascending to the status of a British-American billionaire businesswoman of Indian origin.

Educational Foundations

Ullal’s journey towards excellence commenced with her education. She attended the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Delhi, laying the groundwork for her academic pursuits. Her intellectual curiosity led her to San Francisco State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1981. Subsequently, she pursued an M.S. in Engineering Management and Leadership at Santa Clara University in 1986.

Early Professional Trajectory

Ullal’s professional odyssey began with roles at renowned semiconductor companies. Starting as a senior strategic development engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor, she honed her skills, contributing to the design of high-speed memory chips for IBM and Hitachi. Later, she joined Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), further enriching her expertise in semiconductor technology.

In 1988, Ullal joined Ungermann-Bass, where she directed the internetworking business unit. Her influential contributions included pioneering 100-Mbit/s Copper Distributed Data Interface (CDDI) products and collaborating on first-generation Ethernet switching solutions.

Cisco Systems: A Pivotal Chapter

The turning point in Ullal’s career occurred in September 1993 when Cisco Systems acquired Crescendo Communications, the company she was affiliated with at the time. This marked Cisco’s entry into the switching market and laid the foundation for Jayshree Ullal’s transformative tenure.

At Cisco, Ullal played a pivotal role in establishing and expanding the Cisco Catalyst switching business. Serving as Vice President and General Manager of LAN switching in the Enterprise group, she spearheaded initiatives in unified communications, IP telephony, content networking, and policy networking. Under her leadership, Cisco’s Enterprise group evolved into a $5 billion business by 2000.

During her tenure, Ullal facilitated around 20 mergers and acquisitions in the enterprise sector, significantly contributing to the company’s expansion.

By 2005, Ullal assumed the role of Senior Vice President of the Data Center, Switching, and Security Technology Group at Cisco. Her responsibilities included overseeing the development of modular Nexus and Catalyst Data Center Switching solutions, generating around $15 billion in direct and indirect revenue.

Arista Networks: Revolutionizing Networking

In October 2008, Ullal embraced a new challenge as the CEO and President of Arista Networks, a California-based cloud networking company. Under her guidance, Arista Networks emerged as an industry trailblazer, propelling the deployment of 10/25/40/50/100 Gigabit Ethernet networking solutions in data centres.

Ullal’s leadership at Arista Networks earned her recognition, including being named one of Forbes magazine’s “top five most influential people in the networking industry today.”

In June 2014, she orchestrated Arista Networks’ IPO on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ANET, affirming the company’s standing as a major player in the networking sector.

Board Roles and Accolades

Beyond executive roles, Ullal has served on the boards of several organisations, including Zscaler and Snowflake Inc. Her exceptional achievements have been acknowledged through various awards and honours, including being named one of Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” in 2018 and Fortune’s “Top 20 Business Persons” in 2019.

Personal Life

In her personal life, Ullal is married to Vijay Ullal, a venture capitalist and former president and chief operating officer of Fairchild Semiconductor. They reside in Saratoga, California, with their two daughters. Forbes estimates that Jayshree Ullal owns approximately 5% of Arista’s stock, part of which is designated for her two children, niece, and nephew.

Jayshree Ullal’s journey in the tech and networking industry is not merely a narrative of professional triumphs but a testament to her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to steering innovation and growth in the world of technology. She continues to inspire and pave the way for future leaders in the networking sector.



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