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Cisco's Chambers To Robbins: 'Chuck, I'll Be Your Wingman'

In his last public appearance as Cisco's CEO, John Chambers joined his replacement Chuck Robbins at the annual Cisco Live conference where they frankly discussed successes and setbacks and exactly what Chambers is going to do with his 'half-time' retirement.

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Chambers Joins Robbins On Stage For The Last Time As CEO

John Chambers, chairman and outgoing CEO of San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, met with U.S. and international press at last week's Cisco Live conference. The twist this year was that he shared the spotlight, and more than a few jokes, with Chuck Robbins, who next month will take over Cisco as CEO while Chambers will become executive chairman.

Chambers, in a frank hour-plus press conference, tackled every question head-on without hesitation and called on Robbins to take the microphone when the focus was on the company's future.

No topic was sacred. They addressed Cisco's massive executive lineup changes, competition vs. partnering with companies like EMC and VMware, acquisition vs. internal development, and Cisco's priorities.

Chambers also talked about regrets, noting that he's had a few. (Cue the Sinatra music.) He also talked about his wife and kids, his legacy, his golf game, and his friend EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci. Here are edited excerpts of the conversation.

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