Cisco Systems announced Monday that its board has appointed Chuck Robbins as CEO, effective July 26, 2015, succeeding long-time company leader John Chambers, who will become Cisco’s executive chairman and remain chairman of Cisco’s board.
The appointment follows many months of speculation about who would eventually succeed Chambers in the top role at Cisco, one of cable’s key suppliers of access and core network gear, set-tops, video software and video security technologies.
Chambers, who joined Cisco in 1991 as head of sales, has served as its CEO since January 1995.
Robbins, most recently serving as Cisco’s senior vice president of worldwide field operations, was also elected to the Cisco board of directors, a slot that took effect on May 1.
Chambers said Robbins will be taking the helm as Cisco continues to evolve its business amid an ever-changing environment, calling the exec a “champion of the Cisco culture.” Robbins is also taking the top role after Cisco executed a major reorganization last year that resulted in an 8% reduction in its workforce.
“This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco's next Chief Executive Officer,” Chambers said, in a statement. “We've selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position. 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.:
Robbins joined Cisco in 1997, and has been leading a global sales team that drives $47 billion in business for the company. Cisco said he was also a “key architect” for the company’s strategy for the commercial business sector, which now represents 25% of Cisco’s total business.
“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,” 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.”
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