Photo: Associated Press
Cisco CEO John Chambers just told Bloomberg that he plans to retire in 2 to 4 years.Then, he listed off 10 potential successors.
This is a highly unusual and bizarre move.
Companies often anoint two or three possible CEO successors and then select the winner after a year or two.
Most famously, GE’s Jack Welch had three senior GE execs compete for the job before finally selecting Jeff Immelt. The “tryout” period gave Welch the opportunity to evaluate each candidate over an extended period, and it likely helped the company make the right choice.
But there’s a big difference between running a bake-off between a couple of candidates and naming 10 possible successors.
Cisco is already famous for its political in-fighting and turf wars. And now Chambers has basically just informed 10 of the company’s most powerful executives that they’ll be fighting each other for the top job.
What’s the upside?
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