Friday, June 4, 2010

Loss of a great friend

It is with a heavy heart I write this note. We learned this morning that Chuck Pease passed away last evening. We do not have all the details but he was on his way to the hospital with chest pains, when he passed.

Chuck was a great friend to many of us. He had a great passion for music and going to concerts, and if you knew him well enough he would tell you about every concert he went to since the age of 12.

He started with Cisco in 1990. In those early days of the company, he was key part of introducing the concept of IP routing and “cisco” with a small “c” to very large financial services customers in NYC. He also contributed to shaping our culture in terms of “customer’s first”. He had a great knack for building relationships between our development teams and customers. Chuck was also a great friend, voice, and mentor to our Systems Engineers. And yes, to be fair, and he would want it this way, Chuck could sometimes be a challenge for management. Most recently, Chuck was driving the injection of our UCS technology into the GET Theatre working with Woody Sessoms’ team.

Chuck will be missed.

We are looking to have a memorial service in our New York city office next week. We will forward the information when we lock down the date and time.

Chuck is survived by three children. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.


Frank Palumbo


  1. As I recall, fourteen years ago I survived the lengthy and grilling interviews for the SE position at Cisco NYC office but when I got home, the RM called me and insisted that I came back to meet with Chuck Pease in the following day. I had a nerve-racking night. “Who is Chuck? Why is it so important for me to meet him? What kind of questions will Chuck ask me? …” But, when I met Chuck, his smile, humor and candid questions made me feel that I was welcomed by Cisco and I wanted to be a part of this awesome company. All my worries were totally unnecessary!

    Coming from a large, rigid and bureaucratic company, I had a cultural shock at Cisco. Chuck was the center of the NY office although he was not a manager. He seemed to be a true leader at people’s heart. Later on, Chuck became our regional manager. What he said at the first meeting as the RM is still vividly alive in my mind. “You all have my respect and you do not have to earn my respect. Let’s do right things and have a great year!” Everyone was feeling lifted and empowered. I guess this is the reflection of true Cisco culture – lifting people’s spirits and empowering them to do right things for the customers and Cisco.

    Chuck was a great mentor of mine. His approach to address customers’ requirements and engage Cisco to work with customers has influenced me in my career tremendously. I will certainly miss him a great deal.

  2. Chuck and the early NY Cisco team took a look at young Cisco San Jose and decided to strongly improve the culture, towards customers and tremendous teamwork and team spirit. We in San Jose looked on Chuck and his colleagues as the real Cisco, in truth better than what we had in San Jose, and we strived to be like them. His ever positive attitude, friendship, and ability to deflate any and all BS is and was why I will always remember him... sigh...

  3. It is exactly as you said it Frank, I was one of the beneficiaries of such bagels. I remember how Chuck took care of us in engineering. And it is to this day I enjoy going to the NYC office. It was Chuck, who created the idea of sales and engineering being close.

    Chuck is a cisco icon. Let him rest in peace.


  4. Chuck, it isn’t hard to notice that the world is a much sadder place without you. The guidance, smiles and laughter that you inspired among anyone that was around you will be sorely missed. I remember our first meeting 14 years ago like it was yesterday. Your guidance and help, my first year at cisco, was one of the main reasons I stayed when I didn’t think I would be able to live up to the NYC cisco standard. You always had a great way of putting things into perspective and putting a person at ease. I know I’m a much better person for having known you. It was a privilege to be your friend.

  5. It's been a while since I last spoke with Chuck and was recently thinking about him; hearing about his passing comes as a shock. He was always an inspiration, his rapport and passion for the customer, his ability to motivate corporate folks, and his genuine caring for all, whether they be his customers, customer support engineers, manufacturing, or R&D is unsurpassed. He will be missed.

  6. I first met Chuck in 2004 when he decided to take a hiatus from Cisco. We were colleagues then at Egenera. At first, he struck us all as being quirky, disorganized and a bit manic. But it didn't take long for me to recognize that there was something special about him. Quite simply, Chuck breathed life into everything he did. And he bought a sense of passion to his work that was contageous. In our world of hi-tech we measure results in sales, revenue and profitability. Of course, Chuck was part of that too. But you could see in him a deep conviction and a profound sense of personal satisfaction in doing right by his customers and a commitment for creating long-lasting relationships. I spoke to him last, only about a month ago. He was as pysched and as determined as ever to change the world with UCS. Always like Don Qixote, a dreamer and a friend. Chuck, we'll miss you.

  7. Chuck was a true customer advocate & demonstrated everyday that leadership didn't have to come w/ rank. My introduction to Chuck came through account transition when I joined cisco's nyc team in 1994. On one of those early calls, I remember a customer trying to place an order for a new product - Chuck told that VP, ".. you'd be f'in (paraphrasing) crazy.." followed by assurances that we would work w/ engineering so that it would be ready to address the requirement; then walked through a timeline. My eyes were wide open thinking, "this customer WANTS to buy now"... The credibility he created was consistent, significant & sincere. He told me that my job was to do their job & that defined account management. I was really green but it made a big impression on me. Thx Chuck!