& cplSiteName &

Is Cisco's Chambers Retiring in the Fall?

Mitch Wagner
6/11/2014
50%
50%

Cisco CEO John Chambers may be planning to announce his retirement soon, and may leave the networking technology giant in the fall.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is also embarking on a reorganization that will result in 20,000 people changing jobs inside the company, according to Silicon Valley chatter. The reorganization would be intended to reduce duplicate work. Many employees are developing the same technology for different business units; the reorganization would streamline those redundancies.

The 65-year-old Cisco chief is set to announce his retirement in July and step down in September, at the end of the fiscal year, said a source. The Rayno Report was more cautious, simply saying Chambers may retire as early as September.

Chambers had said two years ago that he might step down in two to four years. (See John Chambers IDs Potential Successors.)

If Chambers does go now, he'd be leaving with the company in better shape than it was two years ago, when Cisco was struggling. Chambers would now be able to boast of refocusing the company and getting a turnaround under way. Cisco shut down its Flip camera unit in 2011, and sold off Linksys last year, getting it out of the consumer business and focusing on B2B market. Cisco set its sights on the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything, as Cisco calls it) and articulated an SDN strategy, launching its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), and bringing spin-in Insieme in-house. (See Cisco Flips on Consumer Business, Cisco Unloads Linksys Unit, Cisco Integrates Virtual, Physical Networks, For Cisco, Is 'SDN' Code for 'Crush VMware?', Cisco's ACI Gets Physical With SDN, and Chambers Caught in 90s Deja Vu).

A company spokesman declined to comment on the report, labeling it a rumor. But he did say that Cisco would provide at least six months' lead time on Chambers' retirement, making a July announcement of September retirement unlikely.

Chambers would likely announce his retirement on an earnings call, says 451 Group analyst Christian Renaud. The next earnings call is August, raising some doubt about the veracity of the July declaration rumor.

Chambers would announce the retirement "one or two quarters in advance," Renaud says. "Unless it's health-related -- and that would put the stock in a tailspin."

Cisco stock traded at $25.02 at 7:26 pm EDT Tuesday, up 0.08% in after hours trading.

Just prior to the Cisco Live conference last month we started hearing rumors that Chambers planned to announce his retirement then. That obviously didn't happen.

When Chambers announced his possible retirement two years ago, he named several potential successors: Gary Moore, chief operating officer; Robert Lloyd, executive VP of worldwide operations; Chuck Robbins, senior VP of the Americas; and Edzard Overbeek, senior VP of global services. Chambers and Lloyd, now president of development and sales, met with reporters together during a Q&A session at Cisco Live.

Chambers said in 2012 that Moore would take over the company if Chambers left abruptly -- which Chambers called the "hit by the bus scenario."

But one Silicon Valley source said Cisco's directors may look outside the company for a successor, perhaps bringing in a senior executive from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) or HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) to beef up Cisco's services strategy.

At Cisco Live, Chambers predicted an upcoming period of "brutal, brutal consolidation" in the technology industry, with most of today's industry leaders falling. He specifically picked on HP and IBM, though he said Cisco's own future is not assured. (See Cisco's Chambers Predicts 'Brutal' Tech Consolidation.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
shashidhara
50%
50%
shashidhara,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/13/2014 | 4:58:16 AM
Cisco will miss Mr Chambers
He has been tremendous leader. Keeping cool and calm even during crisis time.

Cisco will definitely miss him, hope to see the fresh air continue to do good for the company
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/12/2014 | 8:47:49 PM
Re: Insiders selling stock
Mitch,

Before you consider insider sales significant, you need to see if it is part of a regular selling plan that insulates folks from accusations of insider trading.  The way to look is to back in time and see if there are equivalent sales in earlier periods.  If there is, then it is a plan and essentially robotic selling without any knowledge.

seven

 
bosco_pcs
50%
50%
bosco_pcs,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/12/2014 | 2:41:08 PM
Re: Why'd a fiercely competitive CEO want to go when the day of reckoning is near
Mitch :

 

Anything could happen but the list could practically apply to anyone.

 

To be fair, as Dan has pointed out, Mr. Chambers himself has made some vague reference. And the source of this round of rumors seems to come from Scott Ryanovich, who is a reputable industry watcher. That said, Chambers' retirement watch is almost like Apple's iTV circa 2 years ago. So devil's advocate seems to be warranted 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/12/2014 | 11:54:34 AM
Insiders selling stock
9 different insiders have sold Cisco stock in the past 30 days. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/12/2014 | 11:53:44 AM
Re: Why'd a fiercely competitive CEO want to go when the day of reckoning is near
bosco_pcs: That's a valid question. Arguably, the best time for a CEO to retire is not when the company is turning from failing to successful. The best time would be after the company has turned the corner. 

However, I can think of several reasons why Chambers might be thinking now is the time to retire:

- Any of us might develop health problems that could threaten our ability to work. 

- Another opportunity that he needs to jump on now. President John Chambers, anyone?

- Maybe he's thinking there's always a reason to NOT retire. 
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
6/11/2014 | 5:05:30 PM
Re: Why'd a fiercely competitive CEO want to go when the day of reckoning is near
If he follows through, he's just sticking to his own previously announced plan, so maybe not a big surprise. But I agree, for as much as he has been lately tallying Cisco's challenges and the market's dangers (consolidation so "brutal he said it twice...), this seems like the sort of time Chambers relishes--when he can go into the nearest phone booth (dated reference, I know, stay with me) and change out of his gray suit into another indestructible (he thinks) gray suit to save the day.
bosco_pcs
50%
50%
bosco_pcs,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/11/2014 | 2:30:10 PM
Why'd a fiercely competitive CEO want to go when the day of reckoning is near
That's the question I posted to Scott on Twitter when I read his blog post by way of someone's else tweet. While the stock has behaved best since the financial crisis began 5 years ago, it is not really the best relative to the old four horsemen. So, unless the board has an issue, does it fit Mr Chambers's persona dated back to his Wang days?
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Is Cable One Beefing Up for Slaughter?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 1/20/2017
Google Security Lessons for IT
Curtis Franklin, Security Editor, 1/18/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Nokia CTO: 2017 Is the Year 5G Gets in the Field
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
You've Heard of Slow Food? Click Here
This is slow tech.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.