Cisco Live: CEO Robbins reflects on challenges of race, pandemic, technology

Chuck Robbins said at the company's virtual customer conference that 2020 has brought lot of pain, sadness and anger, and detailed some technology upgrades.

20170228 cisco chuck robbins at mwc 2017
Stephen Lawson

A very different Cisco Live customer event began today: Totally online, no pomp, blaring music or flashing lights and featuring a keynot address that hit upon global challenges outside the tech industry.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said that 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year starting witih the COVID-19 pandemic and the fundamental change it brought upon all aspects of business, including a dramatic economic contraction and job losses.

Then, noting the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others that sparked national outrage and protests, Robbins said, "It reminds us of the need for dignity, respect, fairness, and equality, in all of our societies around the world." 

Robbins said society's "own reckoning with deep-rooted, systemic racism and bigotry has brought to light centuries of inequality, injustice, and fragility underpinning our society for far too long."

“It is clear to me that our notions of corporate social responsibility, advocacy or even the most recent notion of stakeholder capitalism simply aren’t doing enough to care for our world,” Robbins said.

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