Clintons, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell Weigh In On Chambers Legacy

Powerful Send-off

Former CEO John Chambers made some powerful friends over his 20-year reign as Cisco's leader -- growing the company from a $1.2 billion business to $47 billion in fiscal year 2015.

As Chambers stepped aside from his leadership role on July 26, renowned leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and retired U.S. Army General Colin Powell weigh in on Chambers' leadership, character and legacy in a video created by Cisco. Chambers' new role at Cisco will be executive chairman of the board, with a focus on security.

Here's what 10 of the world's most powerful leaders said about the "Southern gentleman," John Chambers.

President Bill Clinton

Your dedication of using Cisco technology to solving problems and engaging on a wide range of important issues has been highly effective and deeply inspiring. I am very grateful for the work we have done together, and I will always be proud to have presented you with the Clinton Global Citizenship Award -- the very first one.

Through your commitment to innovation and your vision for a future in which a connected planet is no longer a novelty but a necessity, you have literally transformed the way business is done and, along the way, you've built one of the most influential and successful companies in the world.

Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state

John believes that work is about more than the individual job you do; it's about the contribution that job makes to your company, your country and, indeed, the world.

Colin L. Powell, retired U.S. Army general and former U.S. Secretary of State

I especially admired John for not just being a great corporate leader but being a corporate giver, and by insisting that Cisco focus its attention on the rest of the world.

Not all risks pay off -- sometimes they don't work out. But the thing about John is that he had the passion, the integrity and the desire to constantly be looking to the future to see what was there for Cisco, but, more importantly, what was there for the American people and for the people of the world.

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO and chairman of General Electric

I'm a salesman myself and always appreciate another good salesman, but I think if there was only one order left on Earth, I think I might hire John Chambers to go get it. He just had that ability, that passion to do things.

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state, 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner

I will look back to John as one of the most remarkable individuals that I have met. One of the most distinctive characters -- a man with an extraordinary capacity for leadership and inspiration.

Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle

I learned so much from him, and whether it was the way he treated his employee or the way he did acquisitions, I knew there was going to be a lot more to learn.

He's always willing to bring a new idea from wherever the source is, and he empowers his employees and his teams to make the best possible decisions.

Shimon Peres, former prime minister and president of Israel

John always surprised me. He surprised me because he was sensitive to things that usually you are not -- for him, a social idea, a human call, spout of the business.

The greatest achievements for you are still in the future. So look ahead, dream, dare, move, and move people and move things with you, around you and for all of us.

Carol Bartz, former president and CEO of Yahoo! and member of Cisco's board

I met him in 1994 when I joined the Cisco board. He was VP of sales and I thought I've never met anyone with so much enthusiasm in my life, and you know what? It hasn't changed.

Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric

John is eternally optimistic. He sees the way to the answer. He's willing to be self-critical and change when he has to -- change even the things he's put in place himself, and I admire his courage so much for that.

Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO

He always leads from the front. He's always setting the pace and the example for our responsibility to giving back to the community and the world.

One word to describe Chambers? Problem-solver.