Chuck Robbins takes over as Cisco CEO

NEW DELHI: Telecom vendor Cisco has appointed an insider, Chuck Robbins as its chief executive officer. 


The policy of upgrading an insider is very much like that adopted by Microsoft, which had taken Indian born Satya Nadella for the top job. Robbins will take over the CEO position from John Chambers, who led the rise of Cisco for the last 20 years. Chambers will assume the role of executive chairman on 26 July.


Robbins, who joined Cisco in 1997, knows every Cisco segment, technology area, and geography.


Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers said, “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.”


He recently served as Cisco’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, leading the company’s global sales and partner team that drives $47 billion in business for the company. He was formerly Cisco's senior vice president of the Americas.


He has helped lead and execute many of the company’s investments and strategy shifts, including building the industry’s most powerful partner programme, now worth more than $40 billion in revenue to the company each year.


He was also a key architect of the company’s strategy for the commercial business segment, which grew eight per cent year-over-year last quarter, and now represents 25 per cent of Cisco’s total business. He has sponsored the security and collaboration businesses at the executive level and was a sponsor for the Sourcefire and Meraki acquisitions.


As a member of the team that has led Cisco’s transformation over the more than three years, Robbins has driven the reinvention of Cisco’s sales organization, cementing its place as the envy of the industry. But the growth of Cisco in the last two years was not impressive due to tough market conditions.


Chambers has served as CEO of Cisco since January 1995, having joined the company in 1991 as the head of sales. He has grown the company from $1.2 billion in annual revenue to its current run rate of $48 billion.


According to a Cisco release, Robbins was also elected to the Board of Directors of Cisco, effective 1 May. 


"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," said Chambers.


He added, "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. 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 capitalize on the opportunities in front of us. 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."


"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," said Robbins. "Over the past 20 years, John Chambers' vision and leadership have built Cisco into one of the most important companies in the world; a company fiercely committed to delivering for its customers, shareholders, partners, and employees. 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. 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."

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