Cisco ( CSCO) named Dennis Powell its financial chief, completing a succession plan put in place last year.

Powell replaces Larry Carter, who said last August that he would retire in May. Powell had been senior vice president for corporate finance. Carter will remain on Cisco's board.

"I plan to continue to maximize long-term shareholder value," Powell promised, "by focusing on four primary areas including creating sustained profitability, driving disciplined financial decision making, taking best advantage of the company's financial health, and maintaining Cisco's culture of financial transparency and integrity."

Cisco shares have been on the upswing since last week, when the company posted in-line third-quarter results and made modestly bullish comments about the fourth quarter. The stock closed Tuesday at $16.47, putting it just over a dollar from its 52-week high.