With Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) CEO John Chambers expected to retire in two to four years, he and the board of directors are beginning to consider who will take the reins once he steps aside.
Chambers, who has held the top spot at the network equipment maker since 1995, told Bloomberg that the company, which will likely pick an insider, has a field of as many as ten potential successors to chose from.
High on the list of possible leaders are executive Robert Lloyd, vice president of worldwide operations, Edzard Overbeek, senior vice president of global services, and COO Gary Moore.
Having helmed Cisco through the recent financial crisis and the dot-com bubble in the late 1990’s, Chambers says he wants the succession process to be a smooth as possible.
He indicated a desire to stay on as Chairman after he surrenders the CEO spot. He noted that he would have advised Meg Whitman, the new CEO at struggling equipment giant Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) not to take on that role, calling the iconic company’s current condition “a hard hand to play.”
Cisco has faced increased competition from Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) in recent years, prompting Chambers to shuffle his executive team to respond to the changing marketplace.
Those changes would continue in the near term, he noted. The idea is to give key executives broader experience in the company.
Cisco shares slipped fractionally in Wednesday morning trading.