The FINANCIAL — Cisco on May 4 announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Chuck Robbins as Chief Executive Officer effective July 26, 2015.
Robbins was also elected to the Board of Directors of Cisco, effective May 1, 2015. John Chambers will assume the role of Executive Chairman on July 26, 2015, and will continue to serve as the Chairman of Cisco’s Board, according to Cisco.
“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 Cisco Chairman and CEO John 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. 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.”
Robbins joined Cisco in 1997 and has moved quickly through the company’s ranks. He most recently served as Cisco’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, leading the company’s global sales and partner team that drives $47B in business for the company. He has helped lead and execute many of the company’s investments and strategy shifts, including building the industry’s most powerful partner program, now worth more than $40B 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 8% year-over-year last quarter, and now represents 25% 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 last 3-plus years, Robbins has driven the reinvention of Cisco’s sales organization, cementing its place as the envy of the industry.
“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 Chuck 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.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch Chuck grow as a leader at Cisco over the last 17 years and am convinced there is no better leader for Cisco today,” said Carol Bartz, lead independent director on the Cisco Board. “Chuck has demonstrated the same energy and passion to make Cisco great that John Chambers has demonstrated during his entire 20-year career as CEO. Finding a successor who could follow John was a challenge we took very seriously. All those we considered have the intellect, integrity, and charisma required for the position. Chuck stood apart as a leader with an extraordinary ability to connect vision, people and ideas to drive strategy and execution.”
Cisco also announced that John Chambers, currently CEO and Chairman of the Cisco Board of Directors, will remain on the board and assume the role of Executive Chairman on July 26. He will devote his time to supporting Robbins and engaging closely with customers and governments around the world, with a focus on leading Cisco’s role in country digitization. John 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 $1.2B in annual revenue to its current run rate of $48B. Non-GAAP earnings per share during Chambers’ leadership has grown more than 3,000%.
“Chuck is clearly the leader for Cisco’s future, and he has the unanimous support of the Board of Directors,” said Roderick C. McGeary, Cisco Board Director, Chair of the Compensation and Management Development Committee, and the lead of the search committee. “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. 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.”