Cisco CEO's almost excellent adventure

Week of whirlwind visits to business press and an acquisition end in a pay cut

Cisco CEO John Chambers had a very active week this week, making the rounds with the daily business press to address such topics as his retirement, rival HP and suggestions for the next President of the United States. His week ended with the disclosure that his compensation dropped 9% based on Cisco's stock price and its challenges in facing up to - and down - competition and the macro economy.

Early in the week, Chambers told Bloomberg reporters about his possible retirement plans in two to four years, and who might succeed him. The roster has 10 names attached to it, including Robert Lloyd, executive vice president of worldwide operations; Chuck Robbins, senior vice president of the Americas; and Edzard Overbeek, senior vice president of global services. And if he should get hit by a bus before he retires, Chambers says he would be replaced by COO Gary Moore.

As the week progressed, Chambers had some insights on the daunting task facing HP CEO Meg Whitman as she attempts to turn that company around after a flurry of CEO turnover and some badly managed multibillion dollar acquisitions. To Reuters, Chambers said:  "There's not been a company ever turned around by the fifth CEO on the job," referring to the revolving door recently installed HP's corner office. He added that the Silicon Valley pioneer might have a hard time catching up to the rest of the industry in cloud and tablet computing. Huh? Cius anyone?

Later that day, Chambers told Reuters what he thinks the next president should do - take a page from the book of former President Bill Clinton. Chambers is a "strong Republican" and supporter of Mitt Romney, but said Clinton worked with businesses to generate jobs and growth in real income for families, while taking the budget from a deficit to a surplus.

"And when business got out of line, he smacked them," Chambers told Reuters, adding that Clinton was "the most effective president during my lifetime."

A day later, Chambers and Cisco bought ThinkSmart Technologies, an Irish developer of software for Wi-Fi location services. ThinkSmart's products will help enterprises and service providers gauge customer traffic in a variety of venues and then increase customer service representation based on that traffic.

Chambers then went back to Bloomberg to discuss Cisco's strategy and the need of the U.S. to overhaul its tax code.

For all of this activity and exposure, Chambers' week ended with a 9% cut in pay. He lost $1.2 million in compensation - from $12.9 million in Cisco's fiscal 2011 to $11.7 million in fiscal 2012 - due to growth concerns weighing down Cisco stock.  Cisco shares fell 2% in fiscal 2012, which ended July 28.

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Chambers: We Should Have Killed Cius Earlier

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