Cisco Systems said Monday that chief executive John Chambers, who built the company into a global networking power, will become executive chairman and be replaced as CEO by Chuck Robbins.
Chambers, CEO since 1995 and board chair since 2006, oversaw the company's growth from a modest tech company to a global giant with nearly $50 billion in annual revenues, riding the growth of the Internet with its ubiquitous routers, servers and switching systems as key units of global interconnectivity.
The soaring growth was capped by the company joining the elite 30 blue-chip stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in June 2009, and today Cisco has a market vale of $149 billion.
Chambers will stay on as chairman of the board and on July 26 will also become executive chairman of the company, while Robbins, a company veteran and currently senior vice president for global operations, will become CEO, Cisco said in a statement.
Robbins joined Cisco in 1997, and was key in developing company strategy, including key acquisitions.
"As a member of the team that has led Cisco's transformation over the last three-plus years, Robbins has driven the reinvention of Cisco's sales organization, cementing its place as the envy of the industry," Cisco said.
"This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco's next chief executive officer," Chambers said in the statement.
"Today's pace of change is exponential. Every company, city and country is becoming digital, navigating disruptive markets, and Cisco's role in the digital transformation has never been more important. 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."
Cisco shares opened 0.3 percent higher at $29.22 Monday.