Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins weighed in on a host of issues at Cisco Live in Orlando on Monday.
The first day of the conference took place the same day as the official repeal of net neutrality. The 2015 Net Neutrality rules put in place by former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler stopped internet providers from throttling or blocking traffic or offering paid prioritization, or "fast lanes," for traffic. At Cisco Live, Robbins said he doesn’t believe anyone should be able to throttle internet traffic, but he also painted a picture of what he doesn't want to see happen.
"I’m receiving healthcare services from my physician, who happens to be engaged with me in a video conference over the internet, I would like for that to be prioritized over a cat video.”
Robbins also spoke to CRN about the makeup of his executive team. Robbins is now in his third year as Cisco’s CEO and since taking the reins, his executive team has been shaken up. Recently, Cisco has brought on some well-known faces, including Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Gerri Elliot, formerly an executive vice president and strategic adviser at Juniper Networks.
“First of all, nobody has talked about it much but 55 percent of my direct leadership team is female,” said Robbins, who added that he’s very pleased with the makeup of his executive team right now.
In recent years, Cisco has become a software-defined powerhouse, but Robbins told the audience that hardware will continue to play a big role.
“I think the stories that have been written and the discussion about us becoming a software company are not necessarily reflective of who we were, where we are and what’s going to happen in the future. We will continue to add software content to our portfolio, but we will continue to build massive, high–performance hardware, which our customers need.”
Robbins also made news for his comments on geopolitical concerns. Cisco Live kicked off on the same day as the North Korea Summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, and days after President Trump ignited new fears of a trade war by withdrawing the United States from the communique of the Group of Seven meeting. Speaking on the subject of trade, Robbins said tech companies like Cisco regularly plan for all outcomes, adding that he remains optimistic the tensions will sort themselves out.
“I am an optimist in that I believe that all the major entities inclusive of Mexico, inclusive of the United States as it relates to NAFTA or the issues going on with China or Canada – all of these economies are too important to the overall global economic situation for us to not ultimately get to a good place.”
Cisco Live continues until Wednesday.