At the end of July, Cisco announced massive layoffs. How massive? As Jim Duffy explained in his recent NW article, the restructuring and cuts actually amounts to 12,050 jobs eliminated. This is all part of an expense reduction project that Cisco Executive Management has initiated to, well, reduce company expenses.
As a network professional, I open Tac cases about once a week, for items or answers I cannot find on Cisco's site or through other channels. I work for a fortune 50 company that has it's entire network and VOIP on Cisco, I can't be delayed by Cisco Tac engineers who's only answer is to regurgitate what they read from the manuals. As a user of Cisco products, for a company that pays a lot for those products and service contracts, I expect top service from Cisco on all levels of business and support.
Last month I opened a Tac case for a software problem. I had a simple question, laid out in a very easy to read paragraph. The engineer replied back to me with an answer so far removed from what my original question. Again, I explained my problem and question to the engineer, but he came back with an answer straight out of the instruction manual. Which didn't still answer my question. I gave up hope with the Cisco Tac engineer base.
Instead, I escalated my question to the Cisco rep for our company (he's a technial rep who visits on a regular basis to give us product roadmaps and hold a product Q&A session.) Our tech rep sent my question off to his friend on the right team and behold, a day later my question was answered and I had a solution was in place.
Then Cisco cut jobs. I'm sure those left to pick up the slack will feel no pressure at all as they have to probably perform their work in addition to the work that was left behind by those laid off. I'm sure employees at Cisco feel safe knowing their CEO has also taken a shared sacrifice to make the company more profitable. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the mass layoffs were due to a company policy to reduce expenses.
There's no doubt John Chambers has done great things for Cisco, and he will continue to steer Cisco in the right direction for as long as he chooses. Right now, a very well compensated CEO (and there are too many in this economy) like Mr. Chambers can afford to take a deep pay cut to help reduce company expenses. In fact, all the Senior V.P.'s should take the same salary cuts as John Chambers.
There would be positive news and press for John Chambers, the Senior Executives and Cisco. This would result in increased employee morale and investor confidence.
Maybe some other very well compensated CEO's and Senior V.P.'s would see the writing on the wall and take a cue from John Chambers. Even a small pay cut would boost morale and reduce expenses. But, if that same CEO then gives himself a larger pay increase next year to make up for reduction this year, that would of course be hypocritical and unethical.
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