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Capitol insurrection was 'a wake-up call': Cisco CEO

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·2 min read
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Cisco’s Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins says the country will get through the latest bout of political turmoil, but that doesn’t make it any easier moving beyond last week’s shocking insurrection on Capitol Hill.

“I think that last week was certainly a wake-up call,” Robbins told Yahoo Finance Live.

Robbins added, “I think that the Federal government now is taking the appropriate measures. I think we will get through this transition next week and then we look forward to working on the recovery. There is a lot tech can do. A lot that we can do working with the administration to help with everything from the vaccine distribution to the inequality issues to digital infrastructure to broadband cybersecurity. There is a lot to be done. We are looking forward to getting through next week so we can spend time focused on that.”

Cisco is among the world’s biggest companies that have yanked contributions for some lawmakers in light of the developments at the Capitol. Robbins said Cisco has stopped contributions to 147 lawmakers who “voted against the electoral process.”

FILE- In this Nov. 17, 2017, file photo, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Cisco Systems Inc. reports earnings Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
FILE- In this Nov. 17, 2017, file photo, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Cisco Systems Inc. reports earnings Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

AT&T, Facebook and UPS and others are halting or reviewing campaign donations from their political action committees, or PACs. Meanwhile, the likes of General Electric and Amazon have pledged to stop donations to Republican lawmakers who voted against President-elect Biden’s win in the Electoral College.

Tough conversations

Robbins —who sits on the influential Business Roundtable and leads its immigration committee — concedes that what transpired in D.C. has led to new, perhaps uncomfortable conversations among top leaders in Corporate America. But ultimately, these are necessary conversations given the role big business has in people’s lives.

“I have talked to my peers over the last few days. We have talked about how our roles have changed significantly in the last few years. We are certainly dealing with issues and having to discuss things that are happening in society in ways that perhaps CEOs didn’t in the past. That’s the nature of the business. We have a great board that is active in these discussions with us. We’ll do just like everyone else is doing. We’ll assess our future strategy and see where we go,” Robbins said.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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