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Cisco CEO Chambers Says Successor Won’t Immediately Be Chairman

Cisco CEO John Chambers
John Chambers has been CEO at Cisco, the biggest maker of networking equipment, since 1995, making his tenure one of the longest in the technology industry. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Cisco Systems Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Chambers said his successor probably won’t immediately hold both roles.

It’s appropriate to split the positions when there is a new CEO, he said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop with Betty Liu.”

“We will probably do that when my succession occurs for a couple years, and then if the CEO is successful, then combining the two roles is the most likely outcome,” Chambers said.

Chambers’ comments come as JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon faces a shareholder vote on May 21 over whether he should be allowed to serve in both roles. Chambers, 63, said Dimon is needed even more during “tough times” at the company.

“I’d be surprised if they don’t keep him chairman and CEO together,” he said.

Calls for Dimon, 57, to relinquish the chairmanship have mounted since last May, when JPMorgan disclosed lapses in risk controls at its chief investment office that led to at least $6.2 billion in losses on derivatives.

Chambers has been CEO at Cisco, the biggest maker of networking equipment, since 1995, making his tenure one of the longest in the technology industry. He indicated last year that he may retire in two to four years, and has said that as many as 10 of the San Jose, California-based company’s executives are being evaluated for the job.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in New York at sfrier1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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