For years, Cisco CEO John Chambers has steadfastly told anyone that asked that he wasn't retiring anytime soon. That has now changed, and Chambers's last day as CEO of Cisco will be July 26. On that day, Chuck Robbins will ascend to become CEO of the world's largest networking vendor, while Chambers will become the Executive Chairman.
Robbins first joined Cisco in December of 1997 as an account manager, climbing the sales ranks over nearly two decades to become a regional manager, an operations director for US channel sales, Vice-President of US Channel Sales, Senior VP of US Commercial Sales, and Senior VP Americas.
Robbins is currently the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations at Cisco, a position he has held since December of 2012. According to his LinkedIn profile, in that role Robbin is the "Leader of the team of 18,000 dedicated employees and thousands of partners around the world that drive $47B in business for the company."
It makes perfectly good sense for Robbins to be named as CEO, as his career path is not dissimilar from that of Chambers. Chambers began his career at Cisco in 1991 as Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Sales and Operations, a position he held until 1995. In 1995, Chambers became the President and CEO of Cisco, guiding the company through 20 years of unmatched growth and innovation in the history of networking.
When Chambers took over Cisco, the company was generating $1.2 billion in annual revenue. Under his leadership, the annual revenue run rate has grown to $48 billion. Non-GAAP earnings per share during Chambers’s leadership grew more than 3,000 percent.
"Chuck knows every Cisco segment, technology area, and geography, and will move the company forward with the speed required to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us," Chambers said in a statement. "He is a champion of the Cisco culture and has an incredible ability to inspire, energize, and connect with employees, partners, customers and global leaders."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.