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Cisco's CEO to Take on Chairman Duties

Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. said Chief Executive John T. Chambers will become chairman of the company when current Chairman John P. Morgridge steps aside on Nov. 15.

Chambers, 56, will retain the CEO post, while Morgridge will become chairman emeritus. The president post is not being filled at the moment, the company said Thursday

Morgridge, 72, has worked at Cisco for more than 18 years, initially as CEO. He oversaw the company's initial public offering in 1990 and was named chairman in 1995.

Since Chambers became CEO in January 1995, Cisco's annual sales have risen from $1.2 billion to about $24.8 billion in fiscal 2005, and its market value has jumped from $10.4 billion to $121 billion. Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as senior vice president of global sales and operations.

Also Thursday, Cisco said its board authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $5 billion in common stock.

The company had previously authorized up to $35 billion in repurchases. Since September 2001 Cisco has bought back about 1.8 billion common shares at an average price of $18.21 apiece for a total of about $32.6 billion. Cisco has about $2.4 billion remaining under its prior repurchase authorization and has about 6.1 billion shares outstanding.

Shares of Cisco fell 4 cents to $19.87 in Thursday morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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