Cisco has been one of the most consistent of the major tech companies over the past couple of decades and that owes a lot to having been run by one person in that time. Cisco hasn’t always done well, but it has been consistent. They have consistently made rock solid enterprise networking gear, and consistently failed at consumer products. In the world of technology many times all you can ask for is consistency. You know what a company is good at, and what it stinks at and you go from there.
The issue is with these major tech companies is that the CEO can have an outsized influence on the company. Since technology changes so quickly the vision of a CEO can change the course of the company in a surprising amount of time. Where as most behemoth corporations keep trudging in a particular direction out of inertia even when a CEO is doing their best to change things, tech companies can go from awful to great, and reverse, in just a few years.
John Chambers has been CEO of Cisco for over 20 years and I can honestly say that Cisco is one of the few tech companies that have maintained a high reputation in all that time. Other companies have swung back and forth on the quality pendulum, but Cisco has remained a solid company with it’s core products (Linksys and Flip aside).
With the retirement of John Chambers it would be wise to have a real discussion about where Cisco fits in with your infrastructure. The day after he leaves a new person will be in charge and what you have come to expect from Cisco may not be what you get going forward.