Cisco Systems Inc. has appointed Chuck Robbins CEO of the networking equipment manufacturer, replacing long-term executive John Chambers as the company intensifies plans to take on lower-cost South East Asian OEM rivals and improve profitability.
Chambers, who has served for more than 20 years as head of the company, will retain the position of executive chairman of the company and use this position to strengthen Cisco’s relationship with governments and other customers globally. During Chambers’ tenure, revenue at Cisco grew from approximately $1.2 billion in 1995 to $47.1 billion as at the end of the company’s fiscal year.
“The board has always had a strong focus on succession planning. We initiated the formal CEO succession process 16 months ago, searching internally and externally to find the best leader for our employees, customers, partners and shareholders,” said Roderick McGeary, a Cisco director and another veteran of the company who joined in 1997. “With John Chambers taking the role of Executive Chairman and Chuck Robbins taking the role of CEO, the board is very confident Cisco has the leadership to drive its success for the next chapter.”
Chambers is moving up the corporate ladder at Cisco as part of plans to make the company more competitive. However, after such a long time as CEO, Chambers will most likely continue to take a personal interest in the activities of his successor, especially since his new job as chairman is expected to result in efforts to help the company overcome concerns about security at several of its Asian markets.
“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,” said Chambers in a statement marking the end of his long rule over the company. “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.”