Since arriving from giant rival Cisco in 2008, Ullal has turned Arista into a specialized market leader in Ethernet switches and open-source cloud software. In 2018, its operating margin reached 31.5%, eclipsing Cisco’s 28%. Total revenues are up 37% over the last three years, and even this past “down” quarter, revenues grew 16% year over year to $654 million. It’s impressive stuff from Ullal, an Indian-American born in London and raised in New Delhi.
Yet despite the heady growth, Arista Networks recently found itself in an unfamiliar position: reporting an underwhelming third-quarter, which spooked investors and sent the company’s shares down by more than 25%. CEO Jayshree Ullal blamed the less-than-stellar results on dwindling business with a specific “cloud titan,” a likely reference to Facebook, one of two major buyers of Arista’s networking hardware (Ullal said Microsoft, the other customer, was not the source). And she cautioned the declining orders will affect results in the following quarter. Still, analysts remain confident that Ullal has the track record and prowess to continue steering Arista to new heights.
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