BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : SEPTEMBER 27, 1999 ISSUE
COVER STORY -- E.BIZ -- THE E.BIZ 25

John T. Chambers


JOHN T. CHAMBERS

CISCO SYSTEMS

Position: CEO

Contribution: Leads No. 1 seller of Internet equipment and ceaselessly promotes e-business with corporate and world leaders.

Ambition:To grow the Net into the backbone of all communication, changing the way people "work, play, live, and learn."

Nobody is more responsible for laying the foundation for e-business than John T. Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) For starters, Cisco supplies the technology plumbing that powers the Internet. And just as important, Chambers is the world's most passionate advocate of e-business. From hob-nobbing with President Clinton to jawboning Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Beijing, Chambers is on a whirlwind mission to convince business and government leaders to embrace the Net Economy. ''We're living through the second Industrial Revolution,'' he says.

Chambers preaches Net religion like a Billy Graham wannabe. In the past year, he has spent half his time on the road, meeting 30 heads of state and countless executives. His message: the Internet is already worth a staggering $300 billion in the U.S. alone and by 2010, e-commerce will be 25% of the world's GNP, according to a University of Texas report commissioned by Cisco. Chambers laces his vision with dire warnings to laggards. ''You can be Amazoned in a moment,'' he says.

The hard sell seems to be working. ''Chambers has made himself into the No. 1 communicator of the networked vision,'' says Eric E. Schmidt, CEO of software maker Novell Inc. (NOVL) What makes Chambers so convincing? He made Cisco into a prime example of how the Internet can speed processes and slash expenses. Some 78% of the company's sales come via the Web. And the company performs every one of its corporate functions using Net systems, including manufacturing, personnel, finance, even customer support. All told, Cisco has saved $1.5 billion in costs over the past three years by aggressively using Net technology. With the kind of lead he has, Chambers can afford all his hob-nobbing away from headquarters.

By Andy Reinhardt

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[empire builders]
Jeffrey P. Bezos
AMAZON.COM INC.

Stephen M. Case
AMERICA ONLINE INC.

Timothy A. Koogle
YAHOO! INC.

[the innovators]
Louis H. Borders
WEBVAN GROUP INC.

Jay S. Walker
PRICELINE.COM

Margaret C. Whitman
EBAY INC.

Glen Meakem
FREE MARKETS ONLINE INC.

James H. Clark
MYCFO INC.

Christos M. Cotsakos
E*TRADE GROUP INC.

[bankrollers]
Masayoshi Son
SOFTBANK CORP., JAPAN

Robert C. Kagle
BENCHMARK CAPITAL

Lawton W. Fitt
GOLDMAN SACHS & CO.

L. John Doerr
KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD & BYERS  

Bernard Arnault
LVMH MOET HENNESSY
LOUIS VUITTON  

[the visionaries]
Mary G. Meeker
MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER

John Hagel III
MCKINSEY & CO.

William Joy
SUN MICROSYSTEMS

[the architects]
Louis V. Gerstner Jr.
IBM CORP.

Pehong Chen
BROADVISION INC.

David C. Peterschmidt
INKTOMI INC.

Kevin J. O'Connor
DOUBLECLICK

Ellen M. Hancock
EXODUS COMMUNICATIONS

[the pace setters]
David S. Pottruck
CHARLES SCHWAB CORP.

John T. Chambers
CISCO SYSTEMS

Michael S. Dell
DELL COMPUTER



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