John Chambers Steps Down As Cisco CEO After 20 Years

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Chuck Robbins replaces John Chambers as Cisco looks to the future

John Chambers will be replaced as CEO of Cisco on July 26 by Chuck Robbins, the firm’s current head of global sales and partners, ending the former’s two-decade tenure, the company has announced.

Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as head of sales and became CEO four years later, increasing annual revenues from $1.2 billion (£793m) to $48 billion (£31.7bn).

He will continue to serve Cisco as executive chairman, supporting Robbins in his new position and reaching out to customers and governments around the world, with a particular emphasis on country digitisation.

Leader

johnchambers“This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco’s next Chief Executive Officer.  We’ve selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position,” said Chambers (left). “Chuck is unique in his ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, bringing together teams and ecosystems to drive results. Chuck knows every Cisco segment, technology area, and geography, and will move the company forward with the speed required to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us.

“Chuck’s vision, strategy and execution track record is exactly what Cisco needs as we enter our next chapter, which I am confident will be even more impactful and exciting than our last.”

Cisco’s board spent 16 months trying to find a successor to Chambers and eventually settled on an internal candidate. Robbins arrived at Cisco in 1997, moving up the ranks to assume the position of senior vice president of worldwide operations. In this role, Cisco claims he created the “industry’s most powerful partner program” and it is this “reinvention” of the company’s sales operations that have earned him this latest promotion.

Cisco CEO Chuck RobbinsIt is expected that Robbins will accelerate Cisco’s desire to move beyond networking into other enterprise IT services, such as converged infrastructure, analytics and security.

“The opportunity that lies ahead for Cisco is enormous, and the ability to lead this next chapter is deeply humbling and incredibly exhilarating,” said Robbins (right). “I am focused on accelerating the innovation and execution that our customers need from us. Their success will continue to drive us.  At a time when our industry is on the cusp of more disruption than we’ve ever encountered, I couldn’t be more confident in our ability to win, or more honoured to lead this great company.”

Chambers is the latest long-serving technology CEO to step down. Last year, Oracle chief Larry Ellison ended his 37-year reign to become executive chairman and CTO of the company he helped create and in 2013, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed his retirement plans.

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