• 1933
    (b.) - ?


An American businessman who was the Chairman of the Board of Cisco Systems, he is from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and attended Wauwatosa East High School. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin in 1955. While at Wisconsin, he joined Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He worked part-time at jobs such as washing equipment in a sweet pea cannery, digging stone at the quarry in Lannon, washing walls in Milwaukee's Pabst Brewery, doing road construction on Highway 64, and working as a railroad brakeman. He earned an MBA from Stanford University in 1957. Prior to Cisco, he was President and COO of GRiD Systems. Prior to that he held senior positions with Stratus Computer and Honeywell Information Systems. He joined Cisco in 1988 as its second Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. He grew the company from $5 million to more than $1 billion in sales and from 34 to more than 2,250 employees. In 1990 he took Cisco public; in 1995 was appointed Chairman; and in 2006 became Chairman Emeritus. He helped set the culture of Cisco as one of innovation, empowerment, frugality, and giving back. As Chairman Emeritus, he continues to champion a range of education and corporate citizenship initiatives, and he is a guiding force behind the company's long-term commitment to focusing on basic human needs, responsible citizenship, and access to education. He was replaced by John Chambers as CEO in 1995 and as Chairman in 2006. He serves on several corporate and charity boards of directors, including the Nature Conservancy and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and is a trustee of Stanford University, where he teaches management at the Graduate School of Business. He was featured in the documentary film Something Ventured which premiered in 2011. He married his high school sweetheart and special education teacher, Tashia Frankwurth. They have an adult son and daughter, and six grandkids; a second son died of leukemia. He speaks frequently about philanthropy, strategic management and principled leadership, entrepreneurship, and how education and technology can fuel economic and societal development throughout the world. He teaches management at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and serves on its School of Business Advisory Council. In 1996, he received Stanford's Arbuckle Award for Excellence in Management Leadership. In addition, he actively supports a range of education, conservation, and human services initiatives. He is Co-Chair of the Asia/Pacific Council of The Nature Conservancy, Co-Chair of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, and serves on the Boards of Business Executives for National Security, CARE, the Cisco Foundation, the Cisco Learning Institute, Morgridge Institute for Research, Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, TOSA Foundation, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. He and his wife are among the group of American billionaires who have committed to give the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and/or charities as part of The Giving Pledge. In 2010, he and his wife donated $175 million to create the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, an endowment which will provide grants to low-income students attending one of Wisconsin’s public colleges or universities.
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    Former Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Cisco Systems
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