The head of Cisco for 25+ years and a strong focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and philanthropy underlie his world recognition as one of the world’s key technology influencers, leading to a venture capital play at JC2.
November 12 - 15, 2018
John Chambers is the founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures. In his role, Chambers focuses on helping disruptive startups from around the world build and scale, while also promoting the broader development of startup nations and a startup world. He invests in companies across categories and geographies that are leading market transitions.
Chambers is also focused on promoting entrepreneurship, gender equality, and accelerating overall new business creation around the world, as he believes that startups will be the core driver of economic growth and job creation in the Digital Age.
He is Chairman of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and was recently appointed Global Ambassador of the French Tech by President Emmanuel Macron of France and will work closely with business and government leaders in France, India and the U.S. to foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
Prior to founding JC2 Ventures, Chambers served as CEO, Chairman and Executive Chairman at Cisco Systems for 25+ years during which he helped grow the company from $70 million when he joined in 1991 to $47 billion when he stepped down as CEO in 2015. As Executive Chairman, he led the Board of Directors and provided counsel to the CEO and leadership team on strategy, digital transformation and strategic partnerships. He also spearheaded the creation and development of Cisco’s country digitization program, partnering with government leaders across the world to harness the power of technology to create economic opportunities.
Chambers has received numerous awards for his leadership, including being named the number two “Best-Performing CEOs in the World” in 2015 from Harvard Business Review, received the Edison Achievement Award for Innovation, was awarded the Outstanding Civil Service Medal by the U.S. Army, as well as France’s National Defense Gold Medal, the only foreign business leader to ever receive the award in its 35-year history.
Chambers was also named one of Barron’s’ “World’s Best CEOs,” “CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine, Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” the “Best Boss in America” by 20/20, one of BusinessWeek’s “Top 25 Executives Worldwide,” the Business Council’s “Award for Corporate Leadership,” “Best Investor Relations by a CEO” from Investor Relations Magazine three times, and the 2012 Bower Award for Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute.
Chambers has worked closely with government leaders around the world, including nine U.S. Secretaries of State, and served two American presidents during his career.
He has been widely recognized for his philanthropic leadership and takes an active role in corporate social responsibility initiatives worldwide, including partnerships with the Palestinian ICT sector, with Sichuan after the May 2008 earthquake there, the Jordanian Education Initiative, and co-led a delegation of U.S. business leaders, with the U.S. State Department to form the Partnership for Lebanon.
Prior to 1991, Chambers spent eight years at Wang Laboratories (1982–1990) and six years with IBM (1976–1982). He holds a BS/BA in business and a law degree from West Virginia University, as well as an MBA in finance and management from Indiana University.