"I've had the pleasure of working with some of the most innovative companies that have transformed not only how we think about technology, but how it can be applied to transform industries and entire economies," said Dawson.
"Exploiting these shifts presents a real opportunity for organisations in Australia and New Zealand to find new sources of differentiation at a global scale. The network has never been more important in enabling a hybrid approach to cloud and software.
"Supporting our customers to continue to accelerate their digital-first strategies with speed, security and agility will be key."
Dawson is a 22-year veteran at Cisco. He spent the last five years in the USA, where he most recently served as vice president of webscale sales.
Before joining the company he held sales roles with systems integrators and telcos.
Dawson holds a bachelor of business from Monash University.
"I'm excited to return home and apply the experience gained from Silicon Valley to accelerate the adoption of Cisco's new innovations in support of our customers' digitisation efforts," he added.
"Australia and New Zealand have a great history of innovation across industry and government and I look forward to leading the Cisco Australia and New Zealand team in its next chapter."
Dawson will take up his new role in January 2021.
His predecessor, Ken Boal, is moving into a regional leadership role where he will be in charge of the company's software and services function for Asia Pacific, Japan and China.
"It's been an honour to lead Cisco in Australia and New Zealand for almost eight years. Our ANZ customers and partners are early adopters of technology and it has been great to support and accelerate Australia and New Zealand's digitisation. Cisco's technology and business model is rapidly evolving, and I look forward to leading these changes across the region," said Boal.
"I am very proud of our team and accomplishments, including achieving the number one employer in Australia awarded by Great Place to Work, and engaging with government and industry to advance Australia's digital readiness.
"Thank you to all of our customers, partners and the Cisco team, for their trust and support over the years."