Cisco's John Chambers to step aside as CEO, Chuck Robbins to succeed

Robbins' appointment as CEO to be effective July 26, Cisco says

Tags: Cisco Systems Incorporated
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Cisco's John Chambers to step aside as CEO, Chuck Robbins to succeed Chambers will become executive chairman of the company (Getty Images)
By  Tom Paye Published  May 4, 2015

In a shock move, Cisco announced today that Chuck Robbins will replace John Chambers as the company's CEO, effective July 26 this year.

Chambers will become executive chairman of the company, and will continue to serve as chairman of the board, Cisco said in a statement. Chambers said that Robbins' appointment comes at a time of increased change in the realm of IT.

"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," Chambers said.

"Today's pace of change is exponential. Every company, city and country is becoming digital, navigating disruptive markets, and Cisco's role in the digital transformation has never been more important. Our next CEO needs to thrive in a highly dynamic environment, to be capable of accelerating what is working very well for Cisco, and disrupting what needs to change."

Robbins joined Cisco in 1997 and moved quickly through the company's ranks to his most recent position of senior vice president of worldwide operations. Under this role, he led Cisco's global sales and partner teams, driving $47bn in business, Cisco said. The vendor added that Robbins was also a "key architect" of its strategy for the commercial business segment, which grew 8% year-over-year last quarter, and now represents 25% of Cisco's total business.

Robbins also the security and collaboration businesses at the executive level and was a sponsor for the Sourcefire and Meraki acquisitions.

"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 capitalise on the opportunities in front of us," Chambers said.

"He is a champion of the Cisco culture and has an incredible ability to inspire, energize, and connect with employees, partners, customers and global leaders. 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."

Chambers, who has been Cisco's CEO since 1995, will spend his time supporting Robbins and engaging with customers and governments around the world, Cisco said.

In his statement on the new appointment, Robbins said: "I joined Cisco 17 years ago because I wanted to be a part of a company where I believed the possibilities were limitless. Today, I am even more convinced that Cisco is that company. The opportunity that lies ahead for Cisco is enormous, and the ability to lead this next chapter is deeply humbling and incredibly exhilarating. I am focused on accelerating the innovation and execution that our customers need from us."

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