Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.
|Company Name||Cisco Systems|
|CEO Name||John Chambers|
|Annual Company Revenue||$43,218,000,000|
|Territorial Tax Break||$14,455,000,000|
|Federal Lobbying/Political Donations ('09-'12*)||$8,040,000|
|Click here for sources.
2011 data unless otherwise noted.
©2013 Center for Media and Democracy
|Founder(s)||Leonard Bosack and Sandy K. Lerner|
|Headquarters||Silicon Valley, California (USA)|
|Key people||Leonard Bosack and Sandy K. Lerner (founders)|
|Industry||networking & communication devices|
|Products||routers, software, amplifiers, power supplies, services,|
|Services||networking, remote operations, technical assistance, developer services, digital media players,|
|Operating income||$2.14 billion USD (quarter ending Apr 08)|
Cisco Systems, Inc. is a computer technology corporation that specializes in the production of networking and communication devices. Cisco provides telecommunication services worldwide.
A September 2008 Washington Post op-ed titled "Afghanistan's Communication Revolution" pointed to the "establishment of educational facilities such as the many Cisco academies located across Afghanistan -- some of which are designed specifically to train female engineers." 
Cisco Systems, Inc. reported $43,218,000,000 in net sales for 2011.
Ties to Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Cisco Inc. is part of the Campaign to Fix the Debt as of February 2013.
This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.
|About Fix the Debt|
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.
Cisco was founded in 1984 by a couple, Leonard Bosack and Sandy K. Lerner, in Silicon Valley, California. The two Stanford University employees used their own credit cards for funding as they produced multiprotocol routers in their living room. The multiprotocol router was important because it "enabled computers of varied make, with different protocols, to communicate and to access the early Internet." The first router was designed by Andy Bechtolsheim (who later founded Sun Microsystems and much of its programming was written by William Yeager, a research engineer at Stanford. Bosack and Lerner developed a router that closely resembled the one with Yeager's software, for which they had had access to in its early stages of planning. By 1986 Stanford and Cisco were fighting over rights to the router's software as well as the use of Stanford resources for Cisco's projects by Bosack. An informal settlement was reached between the two organizations in 1987 when Stanford licensed the router software and two computer boards to Cisco, in exchange for the right to use some of the software which included significant improvements made by Cisco after its break from the Stanford research team.
Historical financial information
Cisco is a major purchaser of products manufactured at the Tyco Electronics (http://www.tycoelectronics.com) plant in Dongguan Province, China. As of 2008 Tyco Electronic's Dongguan factory produces wire and cable, data connectors, printed circuit boards, magnetics, resistors, and circuit protection devices.According to a 2008 report:
- The plant employed about 6,000 workers in spring of 2008, who are recruited through signs on the factory gates, vocational schools, and job agencies, and who are all entitled to written labor contracts. The "normal" 8-hour workday is broken by two one hour meal breaks, and is typically extended by 2-4 hours daily, and during times of high production, overtime reaches up to 150 hours/month, in serious violation of Chinese Labor Law, which allows a maximum of 36 overtime hours per month. Both regular and overtime wages were found by a report conducted by SACOM and Bread for All to be at or above the rate required by Chinese Labor Law. In attempting to reach production targets, workers' health and safety becomes endangered due to demanding, repetitive work with hazardous chemicals. Deteriorating eyesight, even amongst young workers (who comprise the majority of interviewees quoted in the SACOM report), is a very common complaint due to long-term use of microscopes and other small-scale production processes.
- According to the report, "Overall, the provision of personal protective equipment and safety training is seriously inadequate. Some production workers are even exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their work area without wearing masks to protect themselves. In the long term, Tyco Electronics workers will likely develop occupational diseases that could have been prevented in the first place." Living facilities at the factory were found to be generally "acceptable" by workers, though overcrowding and noise were expressed as concerns. Food quality was a complaint, being both expensive and of poor quality. SACOM and Bread for All researchers' primary concerns after their investigation into the Tyco facility were the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), hazardous chemical training, and the availability of medical check-ups.
Cisco is one of several technology companies complicit in the Chinese government's censorship of the internet, having produced a "firewall box" allowing the government to block certain websites in the late 1990s.
Social responsibility initiatives
Cisco's social responsibility policies include not only environmental, but also labor and global supply chain issues. The company's statements on these issues can be found at: http://www.cisco.com/web/about/citizenship/index.html
Selected Subsidiaries 
- Cisco-Linksys LLC
- Cisco Systems Canada Co.
- Cisco Systems GmbH
- Cisco Systems Hong Kong Ltd.
- Cisco Systems (India) Private Limited
- Cisco Systems Limited
- IronPort Systems, Inc.
- WebEx Communications, Inc.
Financial information (2008)
|Shareholder||% Total Shares held|
|Capital World Investors||4.04%|
|Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd||4.04%|
|State Street Corporation||3.24%|
|Vanguard Group, Inc.(THE)||3.08%|
Funding controversial education organization Teach for America
Cisco is among the numerous corporate and right-wing foundation donors to the non-profit education organization Teach for America. Teach for America has received criticism from the Center for Media and Democracy and others as it is "backed by a number of right-wing interests that have bankrolled the conservative push to privatize, voucherize, and generally dismantle free and universal public education in America".  As of August 2013, Cisco is listed as Teach for America's largest strategic technology investor and gave over $1 million between 2011 and 2012.
Board of Directors
As of January 2013
- Carol A. Bartz, Former CEO, Yahoo! Inc.
- Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com, inc.
- M. Michele Burns, Former Chairman and CEO, Mercer LLC
- Michael D. Capellas, Former CEO, VCE Company, LLC
- Larry R. Carter, Former SVP, Office of the Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, Inc.
- John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, Inc.
- Brian L. Halla, Former Chairman and CEO, National Semiconductor Corporation
- John L. Hennessy, Ph.D., President, Stanford University
- Kristina M. Johnson, Ph.D., CEO, Enduring Hydro, LLC
- Richard M. Kovacevich,, Retired Chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo & Company
- Roderick C. McGeary, Former Vice Chairman, Consulting, KPMG, LLP
- Arun Sarin, KBE, Former CEO, Vodafone Group Plc; Senior Advisor, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
- Steven M. West, Founder and Partner, Emerging Company Partners LLC
Former directors include
- Michael K. Powell
- Jerry Yang
As of January 2013
- John T. Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
- Frank A. Calderoni, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President, Legal Services, General Counsel and Secretary, and Chief Compliance Officer
- Blair Christie, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
- Wim Elfrink, Executive Vice President, Emerging Solutions and Chief Globalisation Officer
- Robert W. Lloyd, President, Development and Sales
- Gary B. Moore, President and Chief Operating Officer
- Pankaj Patel, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Global Engineering
- Randy Pond, Executive Vice President, Operations, Processes and Systems
- Chuck Robbins, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales
Former executives include
- Dennis D. Powell
- Richard J. Justice
Political and public influence
In the 2008 election cycle, as of July 2008, the Cisco Systems Political Action Committee spent $452,096. 58% of contributions went to Democrats, 42% to Republicans. A detailed list of Cisco's PAC contribution recipients can be found at Opensecrets.org
|Candidate||Cisco Contribution (2008 cycle)|
|Congressman Lamar Smith (R)||$7,500|
|Senator Susan Collins (R)||$16,700|
|Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D)||$22,200|
|Congressman Ron Paul (R)||$20,089|
|Senator Barbara Boxer (D)||$25,350|
|Senator Dianne Feinstein (D)||$22,500|
|Congressman Zoe Lofgren (D)||$11,000|
|Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R)||$6,000|
|Senator Mark Pryor (D)||$16,400|
|Senator Patrick Leahy (D)||$11,250|
Cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt
- Fix the Debt Portal Page
- Fix the Debt's Leadership
- Fix the Debt's Partner Groups
- Fix the Debt's State Chapters
- Fix the Debt's Lobbyists
- Fix the Debt's Parent Group
- Fix the Debt's Corporations
- Pete Peterson
- Peter G. Peterson Foundation
- America Speaks
- Simpson-Bowles Commission
- Erskine Bowles
- Alan Simpson
- Social Security
- Richard Cohen "CHINA: Business and Repression as Usual" The New York Times January 19, 2006. Accessed on corpwatch.org July 2008.
- Chang Chin-hsi, The Taipei Times "China: Businesses Help China's government abuse rights" February 9, 2007. Accessed on CorpWatch.org July 2008.
- Harriet Rowan, Wisconsin Budget Includes $1 Million Taxpayer Giveaway for Well-Funded Teach for America, PR Watch, June 27, 2013.</ref>
- Yahoo! Finance accessed July 2008
- David A. Gross and Amir Zai Sangin, op/ed: "Afghanistan's Communication Revolution," Washington Post, September 8, 2008.
- Cisco Systems, "2011 Annual Report", organizational document, page 81.
- Pete Carey "A Start Up's True Tale" San Jose Mercury News. December 1, 2001.
- Yahoo! Finance
- Jenny Chan, the Research Team of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and Chantal Peyer (Bread for All). "High Tech - No Rights? A One Year Follow Up Report on Working Conditions in China's Electronic Hardware Sector" May 2008. p. 10.
- Jenny Chan, the Research Team of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and Chantal Peyer (Bread for All). "High Tech - No Rights? A One Year Follow Up Report on Working Conditions in China's Electronic Hardware Sector" May 2008. p. 33.
- Jenny Chan, the Research Team of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and Chantal Peyer (Bread for All). "High Tech - No Rights? A One Year Follow Up Report on Working Conditions in China's Electronic Hardware Sector" May 2008. p. 34.
- Jenny Chan, the Research Team of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and Chantal Peyer (Bread for All). "High Tech - No Rights? A One Year Follow Up Report on Working Conditions in China's Electronic Hardware Sector" May 2008. p. 35. Cite error: Invalid
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- Jenny Chan, the Research Team of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and Chantal Peyer (Bread for All). "High Tech - No Rights? A One Year Follow Up Report on Working Conditions in China's Electronic Hardware Sector" May 2008. p. 36.
- Ethan Gutman "US/China: Up Against the Firewall" November 8, 2002.
- Kathy Chen and Jeffry Fowler "CHINA: Microsoft Shuts Down Blog Potentially Offensive to China" The Wall Street Journal January 5, 2006. Accessed on corpwatch.org July 2008.
- Brooke Shelby Biggs "The Old 'When in Rome' Excuse" January 19, 2006. Accessed July 2008.
- Hoovers Online: Cisco accessed July 2008
- "Yahoo! Finance: Cisco Systems Inc." accessed July 2008
- Harriet Rowan, Wisconsin Budget Includes $1 Million Taxpayer Giveaway for Well-Funded Teach for America, PR Watch, June 27, 2013.
- Teach for America, Donors, Teach for America Website, August 21, 2013.
- Cisco, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed January 2013
- Directors, Cisco, accessed December 20, 2008.
- Cisco, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed January 2013
- "Yahoo! Finance" accessed July 2008
- "Open Secrets: Cisco Systems 2008 PAC Summary Data" accessed July 2008
- "Open Secrets: Cisco Systems Annual Lobbying Expenditures, 2008 accessed July 2008
- "Open Secrets: Cisco Systems Annual Lobbying Expenditures, 2006 accessed July 2008
- "Open Secrets: Cisco Systems Annual Lobbying Expenditures, 2007 accessed July 2008