John Chambers: Former Chairman/CEO, Cisco & Founder/CEO, JC2 Ventures

John Chambers Highlights

John Chambers Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: During his 25+ years at Cisco, he helped grow the company from $70 million when he joined in 1991, to $1.2 billion when he became CEO in 1995, to $47 billion when he stepped down as CEO in 2015. Chambers has received numerous awards for his leadership, including being named the number two “Best-Performing CEOs in the World” in 2015 from Harvard Business Review and receiving the Edison Achievement Award for InnovationChambers was also named one of Barron’s’ “World’s Best CEOs,” “CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine, Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” the “Best Boss in America” by 20/20, one of BusinessWeek’s “Top 25 Executives Worldwide,” the Business Council’s “Award for Corporate Leadership,”. In his role, Chambers focuses on helping disruptive startups from around the world build and scale, while also promoting the broader development of startup nations and a startup world. Chambers is focused on promoting entrepreneurship, gender equality, and accelerating overall new business creation around the world, as he believes that startups will be the core driver of economic growth and job creation in the Digital Age. 

Career Advice to those in your industry?

It’s as simple as disrupt or get disrupted. If you aren’t willing to change and evolve with the larger shifts taking place, you will get left in the dust. The key, no matter the industry, is the CEO, who has to own the transformation. They have to ask themselves how they are going to innovate differently to lead fast rather than follow slowly. They have to be willing to disrupt themselves, their leadership and their company. Two other key leadership lessons that I live by are: you’re more a product of our setbacks and how you handle them rather than your successes, and you have to stay calm in times of crisis. These two things were the key to us coming out on top after 2001

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