Cisco Systems executive team is beginning as the giant tech vendor readies itself for the retirement next month of longtime CEO John Chambers.
Rob Lloyd and Gary Moore, Cisco's two presidents, will leave the company July 25, the day before Chuck Robbins, currently senior vice president of worldwide operations, takes the reins from Chambers. Robbins announced the resignations of Lloyd and Moore June 1 in a post on the company blog, saying the moves were part of a larger effort to streamline organization and management at the company.
However, the resignations were not unexpected, given that both Lloyd, in particular, and Moore were considered candidates for replacing Chambers, who has been Cisco's CEO for two decades. Many industry observers expected Lloyd, a 21-year Cisco veteran, to take over the top slot, assuming that his appointment as president of development and sales in 2012. Robbins noted that Lloyd's position encompasses more than half of the company, including its Internet of everything (IoE) business. It also gave Lloyd experience in such areas as sales and engineering for Cisco.
He also was Robbins' boss.
Moore, who has spent 14 years with Cisco, also was appointed president and chief operating office in 2012, and while a candidate for CEO, few gave him much of a chance at the job while still others suggested he didn't have much interest in it.
Chambers surprised the industry May 4 when he announced that Robbins, a 17-year Cisco veteran, would be taking over as CEO. Chambers said he and the company's directors "selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position. … 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."
Chambers will be executive chairman and will remain board chairman, and has said he will be a close adviser to Robbins.
In his blog post, Robbins wrote that with the resignations of Lloyd and Moore, Cisco was doing away with the position of president, with those executives who once reported to the presidents now being answerable to him.
"Going forward, we will move to a flatter leadership team designed for the speed, innovation and execution that is required of us over the next decade," Robbins wrote. "This simplified structure will allow us to move with speed to accelerate our innovation and help our customers transform in the digital age."
He said he will announce his new organizational structure and leadership team within the next two weeks. Robbins applauded Lloyd and Moore for "the breadth and depth of the leadership team they've helped build. They are both deeply passionate about developing great talent. I am confident that many of those world-class leaders they've recruited and mentored will no doubt lead Cisco into the future, and for this I'm incredibly grateful."
Cisco's leadership changes come as the company looks to transition beyond its networking roots and become more of an enterprise IT solutions provider at a time when the world is becoming increasingly mobile and the industry migrates to the cloud and adopts such technologies as big data analytics, software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV). Under Chambers, Cisco has looked to adapt to the rapid technology changes and new competition from established companies, like VMware, to smaller startups and white box makers.