Cisco CEO John Chambers is 64, and for years people have been speculating as to when he’s going to announce his retirement. A new round of scuttlebutt, sparked by journalist Scott Raynovich at the Rayno Report, is that he may do so in the fall, perhaps in September.
That would be interesting timing for such an announcement. If Cisco were gearing up to announce the exit of its longtime CEO, it seems likely that it would come as part of Cisco’s year-end financial report. Its fiscal year ends in July and it typically announces earnings in August. August is also when Chambers turns 65.
Timing aside, Cisco naturally won’t comment on this, except to tell us, “Next time we comment on succession is when we announce succession.”
Chambers has been running the company since 1995. The last time Chambers talked retirement was two years ago, in which he promised to stay on until 2014 to 2016. So, the fact that it’s 2014 is part of the reason people are talking about it again now.
At that time, the company even floated a list of potential candidates of internal executives. Since then the two top candidates — Robert Lloyd, president, development and sales, and COO Gary Moore — have been making more public appearances, auditioning for the role.
A year ago, Chambers even publicly slapped both of them on the back and joked that maybe he would one day be playing golf and “watch these guys run the company.”
Last August, when Cisco stunned the industry by announcing it a solid fourth quarter and that it would lay off 4,000 people, some industry watchers called for Chambers’ head.
Others lobbied him to stay put.
Many employees at Cisco like and admire their CEO. And there is growing precedent for long-term CEOs not to retire. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is 69 and he doesn’t talk about retirement at all.