Last of the old guard: Cisco CEO John Chambers steps down

Veteran CEO John Chambers is to step down, with long-serving exec Chuck Robbins taking control in July

For the first time in over two decades, networking giant Cisco will have a new CEO, as John Chambers announces he is to step down this year.

Chambers, who is one of the longest service CEOs in the tech industry, will relinquish control to longtime company executive Chuck Robbins from July 26.

The announcement came just days after Cisco held its annual Partner Summit, in which both Chambers and Robbins laid out their vision for the future of the company.

Chambers is the latest in a series of old-school CEOs to step down. In September, Lawrence Ellison handed over the reins at Oracle and Steve Ballmer left Microsoft in August 2013.

“This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco's next Chief Executive Officer.  We've selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position,” said Chambers. “Our next CEO needs to thrive in a highly dynamic environment, to be capable of accelerating what is working very well for Cisco, and disrupting what needs to change. Chuck is unique in his ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, bringing together teams and ecosystems to drive results.”

Robbins joined Cisco in 1997 and quickly rose through the executive ranks to head up the sales and partner teams as senior vice president of worldwide operations.

The move came as a surprise to some. President of Cisco Robert Lloyd was an obvious choice; however, Chambers said that after a 16-month selection programme, Robbins emerged as the obvious choice.

Chambers said in a statement that he will remain at Cisco as executive chairman, 'engaging closely with customers and governments around the world'.

Read more on Channel Business Management