Cisco CEO Chambers to Step Down, Robbins Named Successor

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BY BRANDON BAILEY

Veteran tech executive John Chambers plans to step down after more than 20 years as CEO of Cisco Systems Inc., a major supplier of computer networking gear that makes the Internet work.

Cisco said its board has selected longtime company executive Chuck Robbins to succeed Chambers in July, bypassing some of Chambers’ better-known lieutenants.

Chambers, who was one of Silicon Valley’s longest-serving CEOs, will move to the role of Cisco’s executive board chairman. During his tenure, the company grew from $1.2 billion in annual revenue in 1995, the year he became CEO, to $48 billion in sales last year.

Despite a few missteps, such as a short-lived push into selling consumer tech products a few years ago, the 65-year-old Chambers has been a respected corporate leader in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street. He’s also been a prominent advocate for U.S. tax code changes and other policy issues that are important to the tech industry, serving on advisory panels for both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Chambers was an advisor to presidential candidate John McCain in 2008.

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