Cisco names Chuck Robbins as its new CEO

John Chambers, who ran the company for 20 years, will stay on as chairman of the board

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 4, 2015
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Obla di, obla da, life goes on. As much as we'd sometimes like things to stay the same, things have to change. And there has been something of a changing of the guard in Silicon Valley recently.

In September, Larry Ellison, one of the longest serving Silicon Valley CEOs decided to finally hand over the reigns at Oracle. Now John Chambers, his counterpart at Cisco, who has been in charge of the company for the last 20 years, is also letting go.

Cisco has named Chuck Robbins, its Senior Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations, as its new Chief Executive Officer, it was announced on Monday. The appointment is effective July 26th. In addition, Robbins has also been named a member of the board of directors.

A 17 year veteran of the company, Robbins led the company’s Worldwide Sales Organization and Worldwide Partner Organization, where he "helped drive and execute many of the company’s investment areas and strategy shifts," according to his company bio. The teams that Robbins led drove $47 billion in business for Cisco.

He was also a sponsor for two of the company's biggest acquisitions: Sourcefire and Meraki.

"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. Their success will continue to drive us," he said in a statement. "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 honored to lead this great company.”

Chambers, meanwhile, isn't leaving the company for good, as he will continue to serve as the Chairman of Cisco’s Board.

The process of finding a new CEO was not a short one; in fact, the board spent the last 16 months searching for the right candidate, starting all the way back in January of 2014, according to a blog post from board member Roderick McGeary.

Though the board looked at both internal, and external candidates, "despite the diverse backgrounds of our board members, there was an incredible and almost surprising alignment and understanding of each candidate," he said.

 The board voted on Friday, May 1, to select Chuck Robbins as the next CEO.

"Chuck embodies all the characteristics and traits we had outlined initially for the ideal Cisco CEO. Taken together, his authentic leadership, cultural fit, technical acumen, and vision for Cisco, set Chuck apart from the balance of the candidates, both externally and internally," McGeary said.

That all being said, the hire seems to have come as a bit of a surprise, according to Re/Code, which states that Cisco President Rob Lloyd was considered the leading contender for the job over Robbins.

Cisco stock has remained relatively flat on the news, going ip 0.41%, or $0.12, to $29.25 a share.

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