CEO, Cisco Systems
“Welcome to the human network …”
The last 15 years have brought us advances in communications technology far surpassing those made in the previous 5,000-making the next 15 an era that will be limited only by our imagination and our courage to execute- was the recent statement by John chambers to Forbes Magazine.
John Chambers leads the world’s No. 1 Internet systems company and has grown the firm from $1.2 bn in annual revenue from 1995 when he took over as CEO to $40 bn making Cisco, Silicon Valley’s most richly valued company. Cisco grabbed most of the Internet’s vast opportunities to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
Mr. Chambers has an M.B.A degree in finance and management from Indiana University and a law degree from West Virginia University. Before joining Cisco, Mr. Chambers spent six years with IBM and eight years at Wang Laboratories.
Under former president Bill Clinton, Chambers served on a trade policy committee and on an advisory council for President George W. Bush. In 2008, Chambers was national co-chair and economic and tech advisor of Senator John McCain presidential exploratory committee.
Chambers is called “the Reverend,” a gifted orator who speaks rapidly and with a twang. He may talk to crowds but each person present feels as if he’s speaking to them personally. Few qualities common in Cisco and John: John and Cisco are all about innovation and vision. Cisco looks for opportunities all over the world, while John is often on a plane or a TelePresence in most of his meeting as part of the sales process.
Chambers is credited with resurrecting Cisco, as in 2001 when the bubble burst and Cisco stock sank, Chambers made changes by laying off 8,500 employees and slashing his own salary to one dollar. John recognizes the need for radical changes to our education system. Cisco’s Networking Academies have imparted critical IT skills to around 2.5 million students in 160 countries in the past 10 years.
“Through vision and innovation, Cisco and its leaders have built the Internet, and by doing so, have empowered an Internet Generation.”