John W. Thompson

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John W. Thompson
John Thompson-video-20090529.png
John W. Thompson
Born (1949-04-24) April 24, 1949 (age 69)
Fort Dix, New Jersey, United States
Alma mater Florida A&M University
MIT Sloan School of Management
Occupation CEO of Virtual Instruments
Chairman of Microsoft
Illumio Board Member

John Wendell Thompson (born April 24, 1949)[1] is an American businessman and is the CEO of privately held Virtual Instruments and the chairman of Microsoft. He is a former vice-president at IBM and the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Symantec. Thompson later became an independent director on the board of Microsoft, and on February 4, 2014, he was named the chairman of the board.[2] He led the search for Microsoft's next CEO; as a result, Satya Nadella was selected.[3]

Personal life

Born at Fort Dix, New Jersey, Thompson attended John F. Kennedy High School in Riviera Beach, Florida (now Suncoast Community High School). He received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida A&M University in 1971 and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management in 1983. A large advocate of outdoor conservation, he works largely with Ducks Unlimited.

Professional life

Before moving on to become Symantec's CEO in 1999, Thompson's 28-year career with IBM Corporation included senior executive positions in sales, marketing and software development, and lastly as general manager of IBM Americas as well as membership in the company’s Worldwide Management Council.

In September 2002, Thompson was appointed to the National Infrastructure Advisory Committee (NIAC) which makes recommendations regarding the security of the critical infrastructure of the United States.

Thompson purchased a 20 percent share of the Golden State Warriors NBA team in 2005 along with three other Silicon Valley businessmen under the umbrella of the Bay Area Basketball Partners, L.L.C.

In April 2006, Forbes published a list of the most highly compensated CEOs. Thompson was ranked #8 with a total compensation of US$71.84 million.[4]

Thompson retired from his CEO post on April 4, 2009, turning the company's reins over to long-time Symantec executive Enrique Salem.

Board memberships

In 2010, Thompson was recognized for his commitment to education in Silicon Valley at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation's 2010 Pioneers & Purpose event. He received the Pioneer Business Leader award, which is awarded to individuals who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in business and education.

On February 4, 2014, Thompson was appointed as chairman of Microsoft, succeeding Bill Gates.[7] Prior to being named chairman, Thompson had been a member of the Microsoft Board for two years. He stated that he joined the board because he had "admired Microsoft for many, many, many years". Thompson said he considered Microsoft to be "one of the true, iconic companies in our country".[8]

Political activity

Thompson was a strong supporter of Barack Obama's campaign during the 2008 election cycle.[9] In January 2009, news sources reported that President-elect Obama was considering Thompson to fill the Secretary of Commerce post in the Obama administration.[10][11][12] Ultimately, Senator Judd Gregg was chosen for the post[13] but withdrew his name on Thursday, February 12. Thompson again remained a potential candidate until the successful appointment of Gary Locke.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appointed Thompson to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2009.


  1. John W. Thompson
  3. Hughes, Alan (September 2004). "The best CEO in Silicon Valley: John Thompson has transformed Symantec into a multibillion-dollar security software juggernaut". Black Enterprise. Retrieved 2009-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "John W Thompson, CEO Compensation". Forbes. April 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Bill Gates steps down as chairman, will assist new CEO as 'technology advisor'". The Verge. Retrieved 4 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> "Gates will be succeeded as chairman by John Thompson, who joined Microsoft's board in February of 2012. Thompson is currently the CEO of Virtual Instruments and previously served as CEO and chairman of Symantec."
  8. "Meet Microsoft's new board chairman John Thompson". ZDNet. February 4, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Nomination of Symantec CEO John W. Thompson as commerce secretary near, sources say". San Jose Mercury News. January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Puzzanghera, Jim (January 2009). "Commerce secretary may hail from Silicon Valley". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Outgoing Symantec CEO eyed for Commerce post". Denver Post. January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Thompson top choice for commerce secretary: sources". Washington Post. January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  13. "Obama nominates GOP senator for Commerce secretary". USA Today. January 2009. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Preceded by
Bill Gates
Chairman of Microsoft
Succeeded by