Cisco CEO Tryout Camp: A Scorecard

NEW YORK, ( TheStreet) -- With Cisco's ( CSCO) analyst day kicking off in San Jose on Tuesday, Wall Street will get a good look at the networking shop's strategy.

But for some, the real show is a gander at Cisco's bench, and who might be top candidate to take the role of chief executive officer.

CEO John Chambers is leading the event and though his tenure has been in question, there's no indication he will be stepping down any time soon. That said, the day will be a showcase for up-and-coming executives making presentations.

The lineup of heavy hitters includes COO Gary Moore, CTO Padmasree Warrior and sales chief Rob Lloyd.

Here's a scorecard to follow the action. Which executive will make the best play for the boss' job?

Let's get the executive pageantry started.

Padmasree Warrior

Warrior leads off and she has her head in the cloud.

In tech circles, the cloud is a good thing, unless you are one of those skeptics who view it as a bunch of marketing blather. The cloud is remote data centers that hold a company's information. Clouds are hot because they are cheaper to run. But bizarrely, for Cisco, the cloud is a place where companies go to spend less money on networking gear.

Anyway, Cisco likes to play in the growth game, even if it's a little cannibalistic.

Warrior is called the "evangelist for what's possible." Prior to Cisco, Warrior was CTO at Motorola ( MMI).

Warrior is in all the right places where ideas are being thrown around. Her observations from Davos World Economic Forum this spring included that there was "lots of talk about cloud, which validates our strategy."

As a tech guru, Warrior has to have a great command of the current buzzwords. In a recent summary of where trends were headed, she offered a succinct description: "The future of work will be very different: It will be social, mobile, virtual."

Strength: Best name, hands down.

Weakness: Not much experience running businesses.

Gary Moore

In March, when CEO John Chambers and the board needed to bring in someone to fix things, they called Gary Moore

Like the Harvey Keitel character " The Wolf" in Pulp Fiction, Moore has one job: Solve problems.

Formerly Cisco's Services chief, Moore is now the company's first and only chief operations officer. After 25 years at EDS, Moore served as a networking industry consultant for Netigy before joining Cisco 10 years ago.

As operations chief, Moore runs all of Cisco's major business units. In a July interview, he said his role was to bring focus, alignment and execution. "Attack the things that help us prioritize," he said of his duties, along with "mapping our roadmaps."

With 11,000 jobs to cut and $1 billion of costs to remove, Moore's real task would probably be considered the dirty work.

Strength: Doesn't talk much about the cloud.

Weakness: Fix-it characters usually play cameo roles.

Rob Lloyd

The sales chief is Canadian, and will use hockey analogies to describe his approach to business if the opportunity arises.

Ambition seems to be Lloyd's most defining trait.

Lloyd is a student of the management movement. He's conversant in the leading business clichés, at least judging by the fountain of meaningless quotes on his blog.

"Cisco has systematically and passionately invested in customer relationships."

"We're in it to win together."

"Under promise, and over deliver."

"We set high standards, and we do what we say we will."

"We continue to commit to delivering business value."

Rob Lloyd is clearly management material.

Strength: Ambition

Weakness: Makes Chambers look really, really good.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.

Follow Scott on Twitter at MoritzDispatch

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