The two have had meetings scheduled over the past few years but have never met. The word on the street in Ottawa was that Harper initially did not want to meet Chambers for whatever reason.
I thought that was a big mistake. But I got to give credit to Chambers. He did not quit. Last year in mid-August Chambers had another meeting scheduled with Harper in Ottawa. That meeting also did not take place. Chambers later on travelled to Toronto to announce along with the Province of Ontario's Trade Minister Sandra Pupatello a combined investment of almost a half-billion dollars in research and development facilities. Chambers said at the press conference that it's only one of few such agreements Cisco has signed with governments in his 16 years at the helm of the company. “Canada's been very good to Cisco,” said Chambers, naming it the company's third-largest market. He called Ontario “an amazing location in the world in terms of an IT workforce.”
In January of this year Chambers finally got his opportunity to meet Harper in person at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
I had an opportunity while covering theCisco Partner Summit in San Diego to ask Chambers his thoughts about meeting Harper and what they discussed.
This is what Chambers said: “The No. 1 place to do business in; is Canada. They are seventh in math and 9th in science and regardless of the politics they want to partner with business and they want to tightly operate with business in a good environment and that’s why it's the best place to do business in. We have a big investment in Ontario and there is new technology in healthcare and education we talked about. I can tell you that the Prime Minister listens well and he is, in my opinion, not political. He wants to do the best for the country and that model is how Europe can change and we have already seen it in Asia and that's to attract the best and brightest for the country. So I thought it was very positive.”
Chambers later on referenced Harper again to a question about Telepresence saying that he clearly understands what video means to the benefit of healthcare.