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Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins talks politics as the new chair of the Business Roundtable

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins talks politics as the new chair of the Business Roundtable


On this episode of Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast, Alan Murray sits down with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins to discuss a new role he’s added to his resume, chair of the Business Roundtable. Founded in 1972, the group, Murray says, iswhy “a big business lobbying organization” that is the “business community’s main point of contact with the politicians in Washington.” Robbins succeeds Mary Barra, Chair and CEO of General Motors, in the role.

During the interview, which took place at the CEO Initiative dinner, Murray and Robbins discussed the state of stakeholder capitalism, how much influence the Business Roundtable yields, and whether or not American industries should receive government subsidies. Murray also tried to prompt Robbins to reveal which “presidential candidate gets you closer to what you want?”

Co-host Michal Lev-Ram joins Murray for the pre-interview conversation.

Listen to the episode or read the transcript below.


Transcript

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Alan Murray: Leadership Next is powered by the folks at Deloitte who, like me, are exploring the changing rules of business leadership and how CEOs are navigating this change.

Welcome to Leadership Next, the podcast about the changing rules of business leadership. And Michal, missed you again on this one. We got to stop splitting like this. You know what we needed? We needed you in New York for this interview.

Michal Lev-Ram: Well, I was at a dinner in San Francisco at the same time, but we need the stars to align at some point and to be in the same city on the same day, Alan. That’s the ticket here. But tell me about the conversation. You got to interview Chuck Robbins, the chair and CEO of Cisco, and you’ve interviewed him plenty of times before, but what was what was different about this one?

Murray: Well, as you know, Michal, we’ve been doing this podcast for four years now. This is the first time, the first time we’ve had a repeat guest. Chuck Robbins had been on before to talk about the work he’s doing at Cisco. But at the CEO Initiative dinner in New York, I said, “Look, we’re not going to talk about that. What I want to talk about is your new role as chairman of the Business Roundtable, because it’s an incredibly interesting position to be in at a time when politics is as fraught is as it is.” The Business Roundtable is the business community’s main point of contact with the politicians…

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