The Business Women
Where Business Runs Around Her

Jayshree Ullal: Forging the Path in Networking Technology


In the dynamic landscape of technology and networking, Jayshree Ullal emerges as a beacon of innovation, leadership, and achievement. Born on March 27, 1961, in London and raised in New Delhi, India, she has risen to prominence as a distinguished figure in the global networking industry, earning recognition as a British-American billionaire businesswoman of Indian origin.

Educational Foundations

Ullal’s journey towards excellence began with her educational pursuits. She attended the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Delhi, laying the groundwork for her academic endeavours. Her quest for knowledge led her to San Francisco State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1981. Later, she pursued an M.S. in Engineering Management and Leadership at Santa Clara University in 1986.

Early Professional Trajectory

Ullal’s professional journey commenced with roles at esteemed semiconductor companies. Starting as a senior strategic development engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor, she refined her skills, contributing to the design of high-speed memory chips for industry giants like IBM and Hitachi. Subsequently, she joined Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), further enhancing her expertise in semiconductor technology.

In 1988, Ullal transitioned to Ungermann-Bass, where she led 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 pivotal moment in Ullal’s career unfolded in September 1993 when Cisco Systems acquired Crescendo Communications, the company she was associated with at the time. This acquisition marked Cisco’s entry into the switching market and laid the groundwork for 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 approximately 20 mergers and acquisitions in the enterprise sector, significantly contributing to the company’s growth.

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 embarked on a new venture as the CEO and President of Arista Networks, a California-based cloud networking company. Under her leadership, Arista Networks emerged as an industry pioneer, driving the deployment of 10/25/40/50/100 Gigabit Ethernet networking solutions in data centres.

Ullal’s visionary 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, solidifying the company’s position as a major player in the networking sector.

Board Roles and Accolades

In addition to her executive positions, Ullal has contributed her expertise to the boards of multiple organisations, including Zscaler and Snowflake Inc. She has been recognised for her outstanding achievements with numerous awards and honours, such as being listed among Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” in 2018 and Fortune’s “Top 20 Business Persons” in 2019.

Personal Life

Ullal is married to Vijay Ullal, a venture capitalist and former president and chief operating officer of Fairchild Semiconductor. They live 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 transcends mere professional triumphs; it is a testament to her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to driving 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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