Information by Country

Global Section:

John T. Chambers Biography

John Chambers is Chairman and CEO of Cisco. He has helped grow the company from $70 million when he joined Cisco in January 1991, to $1.2 billion when he assumed the role of CEO, to its current run rate of $36 billion. In November 2006, Chambers was named Chairman of the Board, in addition to his CEO role.

Chambers has received numerous awards for his leadership over his past 14 years at the helm of Cisco, including: Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” one of Barron’s’ “World’s Best CEOs,” the “Best Boss in America” by 20/20, one of BusinessWeek’s “Top 25 Executives Worldwide,” “CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine, the Business Council’s “Award for Corporate Leadership,” and “Best Investor Relations by a CEO” from Investor Relations Magazine three times. During his tenure as CEO, Cisco has been named to Fortune’s “America’s Most Admired Company” list seven times, BusinessWeek’s “Top 50 Performers” list six times, Forbes’ “Leading Companies in the World,” and is one of the top 10 places to work in the U.S., China, Germany, France, India, UK, Australia, Singapore and several other countries.

In addition, Chambers has been widely recognized for his and Cisco’s philanthropic leadership, recently receiving the first-ever Clinton Global Citizen Award from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and the U.S. State Department’s top corporate social responsibility award from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He has also been awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, and the prestigious Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award, an award given by CEOs to their CEO peers.

Chambers takes an active role in corporate social responsibility initiatives worldwide, which most recently includes forming a public-private partnership to help rebuild healthcare and education models in the Sichuan, China region impacted by the May 2008 earthquake. Chambers also co-sponsored the Jordan Education Initiative, which Cisco has worked on in partnership with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and the World Economic Forum. Additionally, in late 2006, Chambers co-led a delegation of U.S. business leaders, in partnership with the U.S. State Department, to form the Partnership for Lebanon, helping provide critically needed resources for ongoing reconstruction in Lebanon. Chambers has also spearheaded several other education initiatives, including the 21st Century Schools initiative, to improve education and opportunity for children in the Gulf Coast Region affected by Hurricane Katrina.

He has served two American presidents; most recently as Vice Chairman of the President George W. Bush National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), where he provided industry experience and leadership to help protect the United States’ critical infrastructure. He also served on President George W. Bush's Transition Team and Education Committee, and on President Bill Clinton's Trade Policy Committee.

Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Operations. He assumed the role of President and CEO in 1995. Prior to joining Cisco, he spent eight years at Wang Laboratories (1982-1990) and six years with IBM (1976-1982). He holds a law degree (1974) and a bachelor of science / bachelor of arts degree (1971) in business from West Virginia University and a masters of business administration degree in finance and management (1975) from Indiana University. He is married and has two adult children.


Corporate Citizenship
• “Clinton Global Citizen Award,” for private sector, Clinton Global Initiative (2007)
• “Award for Corporate Excellence,” U.S. State Department (2005)
• “Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award,” Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy (2005)
• “Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship,” Woodrow Wilson Center for International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution (2004)
• “International Community Service Award,” US Chamber of Commerce, Business Civic Leadership Center, (2007)
• “Award for Excellence in Workplace Volunteer Programs,” Points of Light Foundation (2005)
• “Top 100 Best Corporate Citizens,” Business Ethics Magazine (2001-2006)
• “America’s Most Generous Corporations, Best Company in World, Network Systems,” Forbes (2003)
• “20th Anniversary Leadership Award,” City Year (2008)

Executive Leadership
• “CEO Diversity Leadership Award”, Diversity Best Practices (2009)
• “The World’s Most Respected CEOs”, Barron’s top 30 list (2009)
• “World’s 100 Most Influential People,” Time Magazine (2008)
• “World’s Best CEOs,” Barron’s top 30 list (2008)
• “Best Boss in America,” 20/20 (2000)
• “25 Most Powerful People In Business,” Fortune (2008)
• Top 10 “CEO Vision Award”, (2008)
• “Top 10 Most Influential Leaders Shaping Technology,” Time Digital (2000)
• “Mr. Internet,” Top 25 Executives Worldwide, Business Week (1999)
• “CEO of the Year,” Chief Executive Magazine (2000)
• “Award for Lifetime Achievement,” PricewaterhouseCoopers (1999)
• Three-time winner, “Best Investor Relations by a CEO,” Investor Relations Magazine (2002, 2004, 2007)
• “Internet Industry Leader Award,” U.S. Internet Council (2000)
• “Gala Award Honoree,” American India Foundation (2007)
• “#2 CEO in America,” Worth Magazine (2000)
• “Presidential Award: Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership,” The Business Council (2004)
• “Business Leadership Award,” NASSCOM (India) (2007-08)
• Six-time winner, “Best CEOs, Telecommunications, Data Networking,” Institutional Investor Magazine (2003-2008)

Company Leadership
• “Top 100 Brands,” BusinessWeek (#14 in 2009, #17 in 2008)
• Top 10 in “100 Most Respected Companies,” Barron’s (2007)
• "America's Most Admired Companies, All Industries" Fortune (#4 in 2000, #2 in 2001, #18 in 2008)
• "America's Most Admired Companies, Network Communications,” Fortune (#2 in 2002, #1 in 2003, #2 in 2004, #2 in 2005, #2 in 2006, #1 in 2007, #1 in 2008, #1 in 2009)
• Best Network Infrastructure Firm, Waters (2008)
• The Rob Brown Award for Corporate Leadership (2002-2003)
• “#1 Stock of the Decade,” CNN (1999)
• Nine-time winner, “Best Big Companies in the World,” Forbes (1999-2001, 2003-2008)
• “40 Most Innovative Companies on Earth,” Wired (2006)
• “America’s Most Shareholder-Friendly Companies, #1 Telecommunications,” Institutional Investor Magazine (2006, 2007)
• Five-time winner “World's Best Companies: Network Systems,” Global Finance (2001-2005)
• “Industry Hall of Fame Award,” Channel Reseller News (2002)
• “Forbes Global 2000: World’s Leading Companies,” Forbes (2003-2008)
• “Forbes 500,” Forbes (1997-2003)
• “International Partner Award,” California Israel Chamber of Commerce (2005)
• “#13 and #16 of the Top 25 Products of the Past 25 Years,” eWeek (2006)
• “Excellence and Innovation Award,” Fortune (2004)

Public Service
• Vice Chairman, President George W. Bush National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC)
• Member, President George W. Bush Transition Team, Education Committee
• Member, President Bill Clinton Trade Policy Committee

Diversity and Employee Relations
• Cisco awarded one of the top places to work in countries around the world, including:
• India: “#4 Best Employer in India,” Hewitt Associates (2009)
• Australia: “#1 Best Employer in Australia,” Hewitt Associates (2001); “Best Employers in Australia: Highly Commended,” Hewitt Associates (2007)
• Belgium: “#1 Great Place to Work in Belgium,” Great Place to Work Institute (2008)
• The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: “#1 Best Saudi Company to Work For,” TeamOne Consulting / Saudi Research and Publishing Group (2007)
• Spain: “#3 Best Company to Work for in Spain,” Actualidad Economica (2008)
• Europe: “#3 Best Workplaces In Europe,” Great Place to Work Institute (2008)
• India: “#5 Best Employers in India,” Hewitt Associates (2007)
• Norway: “#7 Best Place to Work in Norway,” Great Place to Work Institute (2008)
• France: “#7 Great Place to Work in France,” Great Place to Work Institute (2008)
• Germany: “#11 Great Place to Work in Germany,” Great Place to Work Institute (2007)
• Italy: “#11 Great Place to Work in Italy,” Great Place to Work Institute (2008)
• UK: “Top 15 Best Places to Work in the UK,” Sunday Times (2002, 2003)
• Asia: “#17 Best Employer in Asia,” Hewitt Associates (2007) Canada: “The Best Employers in Canada,” Hewitt Associates (2004, 2005)
• US: “Top 100 Best Places to Work in America,” Fortune (1998-2008)
• Latin America: “Top 25 Best Places to Work in Latin America,” Hewitt Associates / AméricaEconomía (2006)
• China: “Most Respected Companies of China” (2007)
• “Working Mothers 100 Best Places to Work,” Working Mothers Magazine (2001-2005, 2007)
• “100% on Corporate Equality Index,” Human Rights Campaign (2004-2007)
• “Best Companies to Start a Career,” BusinessWeek (2007)
• “Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles: Gold Ranking,” National Business Group on Health (2007)
• "50 Best Companies for Minorities,” Fortune (2002, 2005)
• “Corporation of the Year,” Frederick D. Patterson Award, United Negro College Fund (2004)
• “Spirit of Achievement Award,” National Center for Learning Disabilities (2002)
• “America's Top Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities,” (2003-2006)
• “40 Most Admired Companies For Hispanics,” Hispanic Network Magazine (2006)
• “Above and Beyond Award,” Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (2003)


email icon Email this article

printer icon Printer Friendly

E4 - Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality Conference
Related links
Click here for more on Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility

Click here to find your nearest Networking Academy