Current role: CEO, VMware
Gelsinger joined EMC in 2009 following a decorated career at Intel, and as president and COO, appeared to be CEO Joe Tucci's heir apparent at the storage giant. That may still be the case, but Gelsinger's path now includes a stopover at EMC-majority-owned VMware, where Gelsinger replaced Paul Maritz as CEO in July 2012.
The well-liked Gelsinger will be getting a few good looks from Chambers succession watchers -- especially given Cisco's tight, albeit threatened, alliance with EMC and VMware. It'll probably be a few quarters into his control of VMware, however, before they get a sense of his chief executive strengths.