Could Ned Hopper be the next in line to oversee the mighty Cisco Empire? While Cisco has not given any details on who will succeed current CEO John Chambers, the appointment of Ned Hooper to Chief Strategy Officer could signify that the company may be in the process of grooming him to be the successor. In his new role Hooper will be working alongside CTO Padmasree Warrior and the Cisco Development Council to examine new growth areas, such as consumer devices and services.
An 11-year veteran of Cisco, Hooper has guided Cisco through some high profile acquisitions in recent years. Linksys, Scientific Atlanta, Webex, IronPort, Airspace and Pure Digital all were purchased on his watch, and Pure Digital, maker of the Flip line of handheld cameras, in particular displays the attention paid to the growing consumer division he oversees. Hooper's ability to expand Cisco's presence in the consumer markets and other growing markets will be something the company leaders likely will watch closely to see if he's the right fit to take over when Chambers eventually leaves the company.
Current CEO John Chambers maintained in 2007 that he would remain CEO until at least 2010 or 2012. The lack of a successor for the company's top spot has been a continual concern for the analyst community, but many agree that Hooper could be a potential CEO candidate. Prior to Chambers announcing that he would stay on as CEO, there was speculation that former Chief Development Officer Charles Giancarlo would be the next in line for the CEO post. However, Giancarlo left in 2007 to join Silver Lake Partners, a private equity firm.
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