Cisco taps veteran Robbins to succeed Chambers as CEO

17-year Cisco veteran Chuck Robbins stepping up from VP of worldwide field operations to replace John Chambers as CEO

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Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO to be

Cisco Monday named sales executive Chuck Robbins to be its next CEO, replacing John Chambers, who held the title for 20 years.

The change takes effect July 26. Chamber will become executive chairman of the company.

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The selection of Robbins, senior vice president of worldwide operations, by the Cisco board was unexpected. Chambers announced a succession plan a couple of years ago that highlighted company presidents Rob Lloyd and Gary Moore.

Robbins (@ChuckRobbins) was also elected to the Board of Directors of Cisco, effective May 1.

“This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco's next Chief Executive Officer,” Chambers said in a statement. “We've selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position. Today’s pace of change is exponential. Every company, city and country is becoming digital, navigating disruptive markets, and Cisco’s role in the digital transformation has never been more important. Our next CEO needs to thrive in a highly dynamic environment, to be capable of accelerating what is working very well for Cisco, and disrupting what needs to change. Chuck is unique in his ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, bringing together teams and ecosystems to drive results. 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. 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. Chuck’s vision, strategy and execution track record is exactly what Cisco needs as we enter our next chapter, which I am confident will be even more impactful and exciting than our last.”

Cisco posted a blog item explaining how it made its choice for CEO.

Robbins joined Cisco in 1997. He most recently led the global sales and partner network for the $47 billion company. He has helped lead and execute many of the company’s investments and strategy shifts, including Cisco’s partner program and commercial business segment, which represents 25% of Cisco’s total business.

In the video below, Chambers and Robbins talk leadership.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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