Cisco Chairman Chambers to Step Down, Ending an Era

By Cara Lombardo Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cisco Systems Inc. Executive Chairman John Chambers, who oversaw the company for more than 20 years, won't stand for re-election later this year, the technology company said Monday.

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Mr. Chambers, who has been executive chairman for two years and chairman since 2006, notified board members of his decision in an email last Wednesday.

"It is time for Cisco to move on to its next generation of leadership," he said in the letter. "It is also time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life, on both a personal and business level."

Cisco plans to appoint Chief Executive Chuck Robbins, 51 years old to fill the role.

Mr. Chambers, 68, was Cisco's CEO for more than 20 years ending in 2015, when Mr. Robbins took over. Neither Mr. Chambers nor Cisco shared details about his next plans.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that people close to Mr. Chambers said he had been shaken by Cisco losing sales to Arista Networks Inc., a startup founded by a former star executive who was also his close friend.

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Mr. Chambers, a pioneer in the networking field, has been deepening his involvement in emerging technology such as drones. Earlier this year he co-led a $15 million funding round in drone security startup Dedrone Inc. He also invested last year in enterprise drone services startup Airware and joined its board.

Mr. Chambers' term as chairman will expire at Cisco's annual shareholder meeting on Dec. 11. The company's board is also expected to reduce its size from 12 to 11 members, 10 of whom will be independent directors.

Cisco shares, which have gained 7.6% this year, were up less than 1% in early trading.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 18, 2017 10:44 ET (14:44 GMT)