Cisco names senior VP Robbins as new CEO to replace Chambers

Cisco Systems has appointed Chuck Robbins, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, as CEO, replacing long-time chief executive John Chambers.

Robbins will take over as CEO in late July. Chambers, who has been Cisco’s CEO for 20 years, is moving to the role of executive chairman on July 26. He will continue to serve as chairman of the board at the company.

Chambers, in a statement, called Robbins a “very strong leader” who has great knowledge of the company. Robbins joined Cisco in 1997 as an account manager and he now leads the company’s global sales and partner team. Before joining Cisco, he held management positions at Bay Networks and Ascend Communications.

Cisco called Robbins a key architect of the company’s strategy for growing its commercial business segment, which now accounts for 25 percent of Cisco’s total business. He led the company’s Sourcefire and Meraki acquisitions and pushed for major changes in the company’s sales team in recent years.

Going forward Chambers will devote his time to supporting Robbins and engaging closely with customers and governments around the world, with a focus on leading Cisco’s role in country digitization, according to the company. Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as the head of sales, just seven years after the company was founded, then was appointed CEO in 1995. During his time as CEO, Cisco’s annual revenue grew from US$1.2 billion a year to $48 billion.

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