Cisco names Chuck Robbins as new CEO, John Chambers to become executive chairman

5 May 2015

Pictured: Chuck Robbins, the new CEO at Cisco

Cisco’s long-standing CEO John Chambers is to pass the reins on to Chuck Robbins. Chambers will now become executive chairman of the networking equipment giant that drove the internet revolution.

Chambers is to step down after 20 years at the helm of the company whose equipment largely powers the internet as we know it today.

New CEO Chuck Robbins is a Cisco insider who previously held the role of senior vice-president of worldwide field operations.

His selection followed a 16-month search that was led by board members Roderick McGeary and Francine Katsoudas.

“This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco’s next CEO — we’ve selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position,” said Chambers.

“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.”

Powering the internet of things economy

Cisco chairman

John Chambers, chairman, Cisco

Robbins’ appointment couldn’t have occurred at a more pivotal time for Cisco. Since the early 1990s, under Chambers’ leadership, Cisco effectively led the charge in making the internet the massive consumer and business phenomenon that it is, from the switches and devices that made dial-up possible to the super-fast broadband and mobile experiences we enjoy today.

But now the bigger challenge is paving the road for an internet that will connect conceivably every single device on earth.

Robbins joined Cisco in 1997 and moved quickly through the company’s ranks to lead a global sales team that is responsible for US$47bn in business for Cisco. He also built the telecoms industry’s most powerful partner programme that brings in revenues of more than US$40bn a year.

“Chuck is unique in his ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, bringing together teams and ecosystems to drive results,” said Chambers.

“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. He is a champion of the Cisco culture and has an incredible ability to inspire, energise, 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.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years