It’s a major coup for Cisco that Salesforce.com founder and CEO Mark Benioff has agreed to join Cisco’s board.First of all, if any company could use a little Benioff pizazz, it’s Cisco. Although Cisco is still the biggest, baddest network vendor in the world, it is facing a whole new kind of competition: software — something Benioff knows well.
New technologies called software defined networking (SDN) and network virtualization allow companies to build much more efficient, less expensive networks out of software applications. Cisco is trying to get itself into the software — and software development — game.
Second, John Chambers has had an awful lot of power on Cisco’s board for eons. Chambers has been CEO since 1995 and also chairman since 2006. Its very common for successful CEOs to also lead their boards.
Benioff won’t be anyone’s rubber stamp — and kudos for Chambers for knowing that and appointing him anyway.
Plus, Cisco could use more leadership from those who are successful today — not in years gone by. (Right now, two former Yahoo execs are on its board, Carol Bartz and Jerry Yang.)