Cisco CEO Avoids Layoff Talk, Lauds Video

LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) — With giant layoff rumors continuing to swirl around Cisco(CSCO_), CEO John Chambers sought to assure customers Tuesday that his company’s ongoing overhaul will deliver results.

In an attempt to improve its execution, Cisco has already announced a number of restructuring efforts, notably the streamlining of its sales, services and engineering operations.

“We’re too complex,” said Chambers. “You’re going to see us make these changes in engineering and sales.”
Cisco recently reported underwhelming third-quarter numbers and delivered a weak outlook for the third consecutive quarter. Buffeted by lackluster public sector and consumer sales, Cisco shares have plunged more than 22% this year, even prompting a slam by consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

“What you see, if we do our job right, and we will, is the ability to speed our decisions,” said Chambers. “Speed of decision [making] is the number one thing that I want to see at Cisco.”

As part of this effort, Cisco promoted Gary Moore to the newly created role of COO earlier this year, who Chambers lauded as “doing a great job” on Tuesday.

Cisco customer Lou Modano, head of global infrastructure at Nasdaq OMX, welcomed the promise of better decision making. “Any improvement that any vendor makes to improve their speed to market benefits the user,” he told TheStreet.

Cisco’s Chambers avoided the layoff rumors, focusing instead on the company’s metamorphosis. The San Jose, Calif.-based firm told CNBC that it will provide additional information on its cost reductions, including layoffs, during its fourth-quarter conference call on Aug. 11. (TheStreet will live-blog the earnings call.)

Chambers, true to form, devoted a chunk of his presentation to espousing the benefits of video, boldly predicting that it will dominate the entire tech sector in the next few years.

“Four years ago, we said that video will be the new voice,” he explained. “Video four years from now will be the leading way we communicate, it will be the primary form of IT.”