NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cisco (CSCO) - Get Report shares fell prior to the market opening on Monday after the company announced Chuck Robbins would replace John Chambers as CEO, effective July 26, with Chambers set to become Executive Chairman.
Chambers' departure had been expected for some time, partially due to the company's problems in China, as well as a changing IT environment in which Cisco has been growing slower than some of its competitors.
Robbins, who was elected to Cisco's board on Friday, joined the company in 1997 and was most recently its senior vice president of worldwide operations. He was responsible for the company's strategy in the enterprise business segment, and helped spearhead the Sourcefire and Meraki acquisitions.
"I joined Cisco 17 years ago because I wanted to be a part of a company where I believed the possibilities were limitless. Today, I am even more convinced that Cisco is that company," Robbins said in the press release. "Over the past 20 years, John Chambers' vision and leadership have built Cisco into one of the most important companies in the world; a company fiercely committed to delivering for its customers, shareholders, partners, and employees. The opportunity that lies ahead for Cisco is enormous, and the ability to lead this next chapter is deeply humbling and incredibly exhilarating. I am focused on accelerating the innovation and execution that our customers need from us. Their success will continue to drive us. At a time when our industry is on the cusp of more disruption than we've ever encountered, I couldn't be more confident in our ability to win, or more honored to lead this great company."
Chambers, who will remain on Cisco's board and support Robbins while "engaging closely" with the San Jose-based company's customers, had been at Cisco since 1991 and CEO since January 1995.
"This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco's next Chief Executive Officer. We've selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position," Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers said in the press release. "Today's pace of change is exponential. Every company, city and country is becoming digital, navigating disruptive markets, and Cisco's role in the digital transformation has never been more important. Our next CEO needs to thrive in a highly dynamic environment, to be capable of accelerating what is working very well for Cisco, and disrupting what needs to change."
In 2014, TheStreetpredicted Chambers would step down, effective in 2015.