Internet-telephone service Skype has hired Tony Bates, a former senior vice president at Cisco Systems (CSCO), as its new chief executive. Bates replaces Josh Silverman, the former head of eBay's Shopping.com division, who had been running Skype since early 2008.

EBay (EBAY), which acquired Skype in 2005 for about $2.5 billion, sold 65% of the company to a group of investors led by buyout firm Silver Lake for $1.9 billion last November.

Bates, a 20-year veteran of the communications and Internet industries, most recently oversaw Cisco's enterprise, commercial and small business division, which generated more than $20 billion a year in annual sales and included more than 12,500 employees, Skype said in a statement Monday. Bates also oversaw Cisco's Service Provider Group, which accounted for approximately $10 billion in annual sales, and has served on the boards of companies such as Google's (GOOG) YouTube division.

Bates will be charged with continuing to boost growth at 7-year-old Skype, which has more than doubled its users to 124 million over the past three years. Bates' "record of achievement and significant operational and management expertise, cultivated over a distinguished tenure at one of the world's preeminent technology companies, presents a unique opportunity for Skype that we are enthusiastic to embrace," Skype Chairman Miles Flint said in a statement.





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