A Cisco Day of Reckoning as John Chambers Retires as CEO

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) has seen its share of ups and down through the years under the leadership of Chairman and CEO John Chambers. Now that reign is about to come to an end, leaving almost none of the old tech giants from the 1990s with their same CEOs in place. On Monday, May 4, 2015, Chambers announced his retirement as chief executive officer.

This will mark a sea change in the technology landscape, but maybe not in the way that most people might think. 24/7 Wall St. wanted to look at how this is the case and what it means for Cisco and the technology landscape. One issue that is very surprising here is that the effective date is very soon — July 26, 2015. Chuck Robbins has been named to replace Chambers as CEO.

One thing to consider here is that Chambers will not just be walking out of Cisco entirely. He will assume the role of executive chairman and will continue to serve as the chairman of Cisco’s board. Chambers is 65 years old. Also, Cisco, under his stewardship, had among the largest stock buybacks of all time. Chambers also helped Cisco have one of the best dividends in the Dow. He was also one of the top reasons that Cisco was one of the few stocks to own for the next decade in prior years.

Cisco’s formal release said that Robbins was also elected to the board of directors, effective May 1, 2015.

His replacement is nearly a 20-year veteran with Cisco. Robbins joined the networking and communications equipment leader all the way back in 1997. After moving up through the ranks, he most recently was Cisco’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. This had him in charge of global sales and partner teams, which Cisco said was $47 billion in business for the company.

Robbins has also helped lead and execute many of Cisco’s investments and strategy shifts. This was said to include building the industry’s most powerful partner program — now worth more than $40 billion in revenue to the company each year. Robbins was also shown to have driven the reinvention of Cisco’s sales organization in recent years.

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