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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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Social Leadership

Who says executives don’t use social media?

Here are some excellent examples of Cisco executives celebrating our Partners at Cisco Partner Summit 2015 #CiscoPS15.

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5 Key Business Lessons from National Championship Game

As a big basketball fan, coach, business leader and parent, I’ve been thinking about the multitude of lessons that can be learned from the National Championship game Monday night.  Here’s my quick take on some of the key points:

Winning

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The Center for Digital Business Transformation: Helping Our Customers Thrive in a Digital World

Powerful technology trends including, social, mobile, cloud, and Big Data are converging, creating unprecedented “digital disruption.” We are in a unique period of time where business and technology leaders have the opportunity to create new value and win market share by leveraging the advantages of a hyper-connected world.

Agile competitors with better business models seemingly emerge overnight. Ingrained ways of thinking and working make changing to an innovative culture painfully slow. Needed talent and resources lie outside the four walls of the organization in a wider ecosystem of capabilities. And while technology challenges abound as we confront the future, people and process changes are even more vexing for most organizations.

So how do executives keep their companies from being added to the growing heap of once venerable brands that didn’t transform fast enough?

It’s not easy.

According to Gartner research, by 2020, 75 percent of companies will be a digital business or will be preparing to become one, yet only 30 percent of these efforts will be successful. The number one reason companies fail to transform is because they don’t re-imagine and reinvent the business from top to bottom before they begin.

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Bringing clarity to cloud usage: a must-do for shaping more effective IT strategies

Shadow IT isn’t anything new; it is part of human behavior and started with the first mini-computers in family homes. People will always choose the tools that help them do their jobs in the simplest and most efficient way. Unfortunately, when that means using unsanctioned technologies, well intentioned selections can have unintended and potentially dangerous consequences for the company.  These can include: increased security risks, diminished productivity, and increased costs. Additionally, when users select their own cloud services, they inadvertently create silos of information that IT is not unaware of, and potentially create data compliance issues.   By purchasing cloud services on an ad hoc basis, users limit the company’s ability to negotiate volume pricing.

IT leaders and other executives need to make it their responsibility to find out which cloud services are being used, and come to a mutual understanding of which cloud technologies are best for the business. Only through a clear understanding can IT leaders devise cloud strategies that benefit users—and ultimately drive business advancement. At the very least, IT leaders need to become informed brokers. Even better, they may want to establish their own cloud services and merchandize them to reduce costs and better meet user needs.

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