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Cisco's Chambers to Speak at FCC

As part of his campaign to expose Federal Communications Commission employees to industry leaders, FCC chairman Michael Powell has invited Cisco Systems Inc. president and CEO John Chambers to kick off the agency's "Distinguished Speakers" series.

Chambers is scheduled to appear at the FCC on Oct. 12 for an event open to all employees at the Portals.

The appearance will also be available on the FCC's internal closed-circuit television system for agency workers in field offices.

The media is barred from covering the event, agency spokesman David Fiske said. "It's not a public event," he said.

Powell has stressed the importance of keeping FCC employees in touch with market realities by bringing in leading executives to address the staff. When company leaders visit the agency on an issue, he said, the staff must have its own knowledge base so the meetings don't effectively become industry-directed tutorials.

At the apex of the technology boom, Cisco became the most valuable company on the planet in terms of market capitalization. Some analysts predicted that Cisco — a leading maker of Internet equipment — would go on to become the first trillion-dollar company.

But the dot-com implosion hit Cisco hard: The company had to take huge accounting write-offs and let 8,500 workers go in the first layoffs in its history.

Cisco's stock closed Tuesday at about $11 a share, 81 percent off its 52-week high. But the company has a cushion for the tough times — no debt and $18.5 billion in cash.