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Cisco’s Chambers to step down as CEO takes over chairman role

Cisco executive chairman and former CEO John Chambers has told the company’s board that he will not stand for re-election to the company’s board when his current term expires in December.

John Chambers

John Chambers

Cisco will name current CEO Chuck Robbins to serve and chairman, while Chambers will be given the honorary title of chairman emeritus.

Chambers transitioned to the role of executive chairman two years ago, supporting Robbins and engaging with customers and governments through Cisco’s country digitisation initiatives. He previously served as CEO for 20 years, having joined in 1991 as head of sales. During his time as CEO, Cisco expanded its business from US$1.2 billion (€1 billion) in annual revenue to close to US$50 billion.

Cisco is expected to reduce the size of its board to 11, 10 of whom will be independent directors.

“John’s brilliant mind, compassion and charismatic leadership have helped shape Cisco for over 20 years, and for that we are all grateful. John’s influence on the industry is immense and he built Cisco around a culture of integrity and innovation that will continue to serve our employees, partners and customers for decades to come. I have no doubt he will continue to have a lasting impact with his future endeavours,” said Robbins.

“John’s tremendous vision, energy and passion helped Cisco become the great company it is today,” said Carol Bartz, Cisco’s lead independent director.

“John’s leadership helped bring the internet to billions of people around the world, enabling them to access information, build connections and improve their lives. At the right time, he initiated and brought to fruition a CEO succession process that resulted in the right person, Chuck Robbins, leading the company into the future. We owe John a debt of great gratitude for his extraordinary service to Cisco.”