Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Chambers is one of 20 business leaders who will meet with President Obama at the White House this morning to discuss the economy.

Chambers has been an outspoken advocate of changes in U.S. tax policy that he says will encourage U.S. corporations to “repatriate” profits made overseas to the U.S.

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal (“The Overseas Profits Elephant in the Room”) before the recent election, Chambers said tax changes would trigger the return of $1 trillion to the U.S.
“One trillion dollars is roughly the amount of earnings that American companies have in their foreign operations—and that they could repatriate to the United States. That money, in turn, could be invested in U.S. jobs, capital assets, research and development, and more,” Chambers and Oracle President Safra Catz wrote.

“But for U.S companies such repatriation of earnings carries a significant penalty: a federal tax of up to 35 percent. This means that U.S. companies can, without significant consequence, use their foreign earnings to invest in any country in the world—except here.”

Interestingly, venture capital and investment community will also be represented at the meeting. Much of the VC sector has opposed plans advocated by Democrats to change policy on “carried interest” that critics believe will increase their taxes. That idea apparently has died with the results of the November election.

Will Obama and the executives make peace? (“President Barack Obama and the nation’s business sector, staunch rivals in past battles over how to overhaul health care and banking regulations, are moving toward a wary embrace,” says the Associated Press. (Read the AP report here.)

Cisco employs more than 4,000 people at its campus in RTP and has continued to add workers despite the continuing economic turbulence.

According to Reuters, other executives at today’s meeting include:

  • Greg Brown, co-chief executive, Motorola Inc.
  • Kenneth Chenault, chief executive, American Express
  • Dave Cote, chief executive, Honeywell International Inc
  • Scott Davis, chief executive, United Parcels Service
  • John Doerr, partner, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Mark Gallogly, managing partner, investment firm Centerbridge Partners
  • Lew Hay, chief executive, NextEra Energy Inc.
  • Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive, General Electric Co.
  • Ellen Kullman, chief executive, DuPont
  • John Lechleiter, chief executive, Eli Lilly and Co
  • Andrew Liveris, chief executive, Dow Chemical Co.
  • Jim McNerney, chief executive, Boeing Co.
  • Indra Nooyi, chief executive, PepsiCo Inc.
  • Paul Otellini, chief executive, Intel Corp.

Cisco employs more than 4,000 people at its campus in RTP and has continued to add workers despite the continuing economic turbulence.

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall at the White House today?

By the way, read that Wall Street Journal article here.

Get the latest news alerts: Follow LTW at Twitter.