The man who took Cisco from a $1.2 billion company to a hardware giant with nearly $50 million revenues is finally departing from the company. Cisco Executive Chairman John Chambers will not seek re-election to the board of directors in December and its CEO Chuck Robbins will be elevated as Chairman.
“Executive Chairman John Chambers has notified the Cisco Board of Directors that he will not stand for re-election to the board of directors in December. The Board plans to appoint Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins to serve as chairman when Chambers' term expires at the annual meeting of shareholders on December 11, 2017,” said Cisco in a statement, adding that John will be given the honoury title of Chairman Emeritus.
Chambers was named executive chairman on July 26, 2015. As executive chairman Chambers has focused on supporting Cisco CEO Robbins and engaging closely with customers and governments around the world through Cisco's Country Digitization initiatives.
“John's brilliant mind, compassion and charismatic leadership have helped shape Cisco for over 20 years, and for that we are all grateful,” stated Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco. “John's influence on the industry is immense and he built Cisco around a culture of integrity and innovation that will continue to serve our employees, partners and customers for decades to come. I have no doubt he will continue to have a lasting impact with his future endeavors.”
“John's tremendous vision, energy and passion helped Cisco become the great company it is today,” said Carol Bartz, lead independent director, Cisco Board of Directors. “John's leadership helped bring the internet to billions of people around the world, enabling them to access information, build connections and improve their lives. At the right time, he initiated and brought to fruition a CEO succession process that resulted in the right person, Chuck Robbins, leading the company into the future. We owe John a debt of great gratitude for his extraordinary service to Cisco.”
Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as senior vice president, Worldwide Sales and Operations. In 1995, he became president and CEO, a position he held until 2006, when he was appointed Chairman of the Board. He served as Chairman and CEO from 2006 to 2015. Over the course of 20 years at the helm of Cisco, he helped grow the company from $70 million when he joined, to $1.2 billion when he assumed the role of CEO, to about $50 billion when he stepped down as CEO in 2015.
Cisco also informed that at the Annual Meeting, the Cisco Board is expected to reduce the size of the Board to eleven members, ten of whom will be independent directors. The Board's charter ensures that the lead independent director plays a critical role in leading corporate governance.