Cisco’s current CEO Chuck Robbins will take over as chairman.
Robbins took over as CEO two years ago when Chambers retired from that role. Chambers was CEO from 1995 to 2015, having joined Cisco in 1991 as the head of sales. He led the company from $US1.2 billion in annual revenue to nearly $US50 billion before turning the reins over to Robbins.
Robbins has been busily revamping Cisco, shifting it toward cloud software and away from an eroding computer network equipment market, the market that Cisco still dominates. Because Robbins is already leading a new strategy and appointed many of his own people when he took over, investors are treating this news as a yawn. The stock is steady at just over $US32 a share.
When Robbins originally took over as CEO, the scuttlebutt was that it would be a struggle to work under Chamber’s long and dominant shadow, particularly since Chambers still held an active role at the company as executive chairman. With Chambers out of any role, beyond the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus, the ship is clearly solely under his command, and Chambers says as much in his resignation letter.
He also says that he’s leaving because he’s ready to do something new with his career beyond Cisco, writing:
“It is time for Cisco to move on to its next generation of leadership including at the board and Chairman level and to position this seamlessly for the future. It is also time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life, on both a personal and business level.
Since retiring from the CEO job, Chambers has become active in angel investing, so perhaps he is contemplating another run at at CEO job of a startup or small company.
And many people have speculated over the years that he may one day try to run for political office. Chambers is a self described “moderate Republican” which he once called an “endangered species.” (He voted for Hillary Clinton.) He has never been shy of voicing his political opinions particularly around tax reform and the need for a national digital economic policy.
Here’s his full resignation letter.
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