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Identifying Cisco’s Next-Generation Leader

By Roderick C. McGeary, Cisco Board Member and Chair, Compensation and Management Development Committee, and Francine Katsoudas, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

McGeary and Katsoudas




Cisco CEO John Chambers has consistently said that the next time we would talk about CEO succession would be when a successor is announced. Today is that day, and we are proud that Chuck Robbins has been appointed Cisco’s next CEO.

Over the past 16 months, Cisco’s Compensation and Management Development Committee and Board of Directors have been focused on the succession process for one of the most dynamic, respected, and longest-tenured CEOs in the tech industry.

For almost a decade, we have led robust succession planning and leadership planning for all of our critical roles. And, as a result, since John Chambers has been CEO, we’ve managed numerous successions seamlessly, including our CFO transition last fall.

The board initiated the formal CEO succession process in January, 2014, knowing that the transition would occur at some point in the following couple of years. Early in this process, we adopted five key principles to guide our approach and decisions:

  1. Execute a transition that is thorough, strategic, well managed and, in hindsight, highly successful.
  2. Establish clear criteria that will define a successful CEO for the next decade and beyond.
  3. Assess and develop the leaders who will play key roles during the CEO transition and beyond.
  4. Lead a highly confidential process that minimizes the distractions to the business and is fair and respectful to all candidates.
  5. Given the speed of disruption in our industry, select a candidate who can both execute in the short term as well as drive a dynamic vision and strategy for the next decade.

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Cisco Partner Summit 2015: John Chambers’ Message to Partners


As always at Cisco Partner Summit, I take the opportunity to speak with our Cisco executives throughout the week, and one of the treats of my job is having a few moments to speak with Chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers.

This year, John and I took a few moments out of his busy schedule to discuss the ever-increasing pace of change in our industry. We also discussed digital disruption and how it is affecting Cisco partners, how Cisco is ready to lead in the digitization of cities, countries and companies, and what they should take away from this great event. Want to hear John’s in-depth answers to those questions and more? Check out our interview:

It’s been a great Partner Summit in Montreal. I’m heading home today, but our coverage continues next week. Stay tuned to the Cisco Partner Blog through May 8 for the entire wrap up from this year’s event.

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John Chambers: “What does the Internet of Everything Mean for Security?”

Last week, Cisco CEO John Chambers attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A major theme of the week was security and the implications of the Internet of Everything…the topic which John focused on in his contributed article to the WEF blog, Agenda. You can read the full article here.

In the article he stated:

WEF graphic - John Chambers on Security 2014

WEF graphic – John Chambers on Security 2015

Additionally, last week, Cisco issued our Annual Security Report which includes data about the number of breaches, attacks and how to mitigate these increasing threats. Cisco SVP and Chief Security Officer John Stewart blogged on this report here. A key call to action of the report is for corporate boards to take a more active role and focus on security as they help run their companies. He also talked to BloombergWest’s Cory Johnson. You can view that interview here.

In Davos, John Chambers talked to a few reporters about the implications of more things being connected…overall, of course, the impact will be very positive. As we move from 14B connected devices to 50B by 2020, John argues that each of those end points cannot be trusted to be secure, therefore you need to focus on security from an architectural approach…something, of course, where the network has a distinct advantage.

See John’s interview with USAToday Editor-in-Chief Dave Callaway.

See John’s interview with New York Times reporter David Gelles.

And, see here, for how many devices are connected to the Internet. Right. Now.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – January 16, 2015

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Sherri Liebo provided a great update this week on Cisco Intercloud. In her blog entitled Cisco Intercloud Makes Strides Leading up to Partner Summit 2015, she gives a quick, but thorough, update on just what Cisco’s been up to since introducing Cisco Intercloud in Las Vegas last year.

Check out her blog for an overview of last year’s launch, a look at what Cisco has accomplished since then and a view forward of what to expect next as we head toward Partner Summit 2015.

Let’s Talk Firsts and Lasts

In case you missed it, John Chambers blogged this week looking back at the 30 year history of Cisco. It’s a nice trip down memory lane for many of us, and a quick history lesson for the rest. John also takes a look at what to expect during the next thirty years. Be sure to check it out! Read More »

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Let’s Talk Firsts and Lasts

For 30 years, we’ve been helping change the way people work, live, play, and learn. During this time, our world has advanced faster than ever.

It seems like yesterday when we saw the introduction of the Macintosh, the first-ever consumer machine with a mouse and graphical interface. Then, just two years later in 1986, Cisco introduced the Advanced Gateway Server, or AGS.

This breakthrough multiprotocol router became the foundation for moving traffic across networks. In 1990, researcher Tim Berners-Lee developed HTML—the official language of the World Wide Web and the spark to make the Internet mainstream.

Today, it’s hard to remember life before the Internet. The industry has come a long way, and so have we.

We owe our founding to Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, two former Stanford University computer technologists, who set Cisco on an incredible journey as a networking and Internet pioneer.

In 1995, less than 1 percent of the world’s population connected on the Internet. Today, more than 40 percent connect online.

We’ve seen businesses transformed and economies modernized. The way we buy and sell products has changed—so has their design, production, and distribution. It’s as if no industry has been untouched.

In the next 30 years and beyond, we’ll see everything become connected—people, process, data, and things. This will expand our understanding of the world and the experiences we have, and we’ll generate new ideas and discover new solutions.

Read More »

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