John Chambers, who has run Cisco Systems as president and chief executive officer (CEO) since 1995, will become chairman in November while remaining CEO, the dominant networking vendor announced Thursday.
After taking over as chairman, Chambers will relinquish the title of president. Cisco is not filling the job at this time but will review the role of president over time, spokeswoman Terry Anderson said Thursday.
The board of the San Jose, Calif., company unanimously approved the succession plan at a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Cisco said. As of the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Nov. 15, Chambers will succeed John Morgridge, who has been chairman since 1995. Following the succession, Morgridge, a former CEO, will become chairman emeritus and focus on the charitable activities of the Cisco Foundation.
Cisco’s John Chambers
Chambers has had an exceptionally long run in a networking industry that has boomed, crashed, consolidated and begun to recover since he began running Cisco 11 years ago. Cisco has come out on top in most of those changes, growing from about US$1.2 billion in revenue in 1995 to $24.8 billion in fiscal 2005. The company’s market capitalization was only $10.4 billion when Chambers took over and now stands at about $121 billion. Under Chambers’ leadership, the company has expanded its business from enterprise data networks to carrier infrastructure, voice over IP, consumer and small-business network gear and other areas.
Chambers, a former IBM salesman, came to Cisco from Wang Laboratories in 1991 and became president of worldwide sales and operations. He has a bachelor’s degree in business and a law degree from West Virginia University, as well as a master’s in business administration from Indiana University.
-Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)