Cisco Systems has canceled its annual Global Sales Meeting. The gathering was scheduled August 18-31, 2009, in San Francisco, and was expected to bring together thousands of Cisco’s internal salespeople.

The decision appears to part of a companywide effort to reduce expenses. In the aftermath of the cancellation, Cisco released a statement referencing its recent quarterly earnings call in which Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers said the company planned to reduce fiscal year 2009 expenses by more than $1 billion.

“Cisco will be targeting reductions in travel and discretionary-related expenses, including off-sites, outside services, equipment, events, trade shows, prototypes, marketing, and other activities,” according to the statement. “In almost all instances for business critical activities, we will be utilizing Web 2.0 collaboration technologies, such as TelePresence and WebEx, to reduce travel and event costs, while still maintaining essential customer, employee, and partner communication activities.”

According to press reports, Cisco also canceled its Women’s Leadership Forum, which was scheduled to be held earlier this month in San Diego.

The loss of the Cisco Global Sales Meeting is another blow to San Francisco, which in October saw NetApp, a manufacturer of network storage equipment, cancel a user conference scheduled for the Moscone Center in February 2009.

"We had more customer interest in NetApp Accelerate than we anticipated," said Elisa Steele, NetApp’s senior vice president, corporate marketing, in a release announcing the cancellation. "But those same customers told us their travel budgets were being cut, and it was difficult to commit to attending in today's climate of economic uncertainty. For those reasons, we decided to cancel this year's program."