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Which Tech CEO Needs to Go Before Their Company Can Grow?

The Fast Money team was cleaning house at the most troubled tech companies Wednesday. So which beleaguered CEOs should go?

Cisco

The once revered Cisco CEO John Chambers has been feeling the heat lately. The company hit a fresh 52 week low Wednesday, and Chambers warned last week that the company will fare worse this quarter than Wall Street had feared.

But while people are calling for Chambers to step down, Colin Gillis, tech analyst with BGC partners, said the time is not now. “The market still wants to give him a chance,” he said. “He got the company into the mess, and it looks like he wants to get the company out of this mess.”

Gillis pointed Chamber’s hiring of COO Gary Moore, and his plan to cut thousands of jobs in order to slash costs by $1 billion as signs Chambers is trying to fix things. But Gillis said Chambers must act fast.

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CSCO
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Microsoft

There was some disagreement over whether it was time to give Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer the boot.

“Give Ballmer a break,” Gillis said, pointing to the company’s record earnings, record revenue, and record cash flow over the last year.

But Karen Finerman a self-proclaimed “long-suffering Microsoft shareholder,” asked when it was time to hold management responsible for not getting shareholder value. Gills said while the company’s stock has gone from a high multiple name down to a low multiple value name, he believes management is doing the right thing.

But Melissa Lee countered, “Shareholders are looking for price appreciation at the end of the day, not just well-intentioned, good managers.”

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MSFT
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Yahoo!

What about Yahoo’s Carol Bartz? She’s been at the helm of the digital media company since January 2009, when she was hired to engineer a turnaround. But that turnaround has yet to occur. Yahoo stocks also took a hit last week when it was revealed that Chinese internet company Alibaba Group, of which Yahoo owns 43 percent, transferred ownership of its online payment service.

The clock is ticking for Bartz, Gillis said. He believes most investors are looking for revenue growth to stop declining and start growing and for some of the cash to be returned to shareholders.

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AABA
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Research in Motion

Lastly, a change in management at Research in Motion would certainly make some people happy, Gillis said. The BlackBerry maker recently cut its earnings guidance for its first quarter, citing slower-than expected smartphone sales. With two CEOs and a CFO, Gillis said “it is a very top heavy company.”

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