20 Slippery Questions With Cisco CEO John Chambers

How Is Cisco Planning Succession?

We've had regular succession planning for two decades, a first wave and a second wave, but that was more "hit-by-the-bus" or I mess up. Now, we're looking at a logical transition occurring, and last year we said three to five years, so guess what, now we're saying two to four. No major surprises there. What's exciting about it is that we have two waves on which we meet with the board on leaders. The first is three or four people, the second is five or six, and that seems like a lot, but really, it's what you need in the pipeline. It isn't just about who's going to be CEO, but who are the three to five people who are really going to run the company. And by the way, no one will be CEO here who would not stay if they weren't one of the three to five running the company.

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