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Cisco has introduced an age bar for its board. Under a new governance policy agreed last week Cisco directors will no longer be eligible for, nominated or renominated to its board after they hit 70.

The networking giant's current chairman, John P. Morgridge, 71, will step down after next year's shareholders meeting, which is scheduled for November 2006. But vice chairman Donald T. Valentine and board member James F. Gibbons will not be eligible for renomination for Cisco's 2005 annual meeting in November 2005. Cisco expects the size of its board to drop from 13 to 11 at that time.

Cisco's board is largely invisible to customers and partners. Nonetheless a board composing several pensioners sits ill at ease with Cisco's positioning as a go-ahead 21st century net technologies firm. Anecdotes about the Arpanet and thrashing Wellfleet have sadly had their day. Cisco said its board retirement policy put it into line with other technology heavyweights.

"Consistent with similar policies adopted by leading corporations, we've initiated this change to create a more formal timeline for board member changes. This provides both the board and our shareholders with a clear road map for the natural evolution of our Board of Directors." said cisco chairman John Morgridge. ®

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