Florida A&M University Alum Named Microsoft Chairman

Feb 4, 2014

John W. Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments and former CEO of Symantec Corp, has been named chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors.

Thompson was the only African American leading a major tech company during his time at Symantec. He  is credited with increasing that company's revenues by more than $5.5 billion to $6.2 billion.

“Florida A&M University celebrates this achievement with John as he continues to excel in the world of business,” said FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson. “This is an excellent example of how the education our students receive at FAMU will propel them from the classroom to the boardroom and beyond.”

Thompson is a 1979 graduate of FAMU's School of Business and Industry. He received a Master's from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He previously held a number of leadership positions at IBM, including sales, marketing, software development and general manager of IBM Americas.

“One of my key contributions, I hope, will be to engage with shareholders and keep focus on how together we can bring great innovation to the marketplace and drive strong long term shareholder value,” said Thompson in a video statement from Microsoft.

According to Microsoft, Bill Gates will assume a new role on the Board as founder and technology advisor. Thompson was named chairman of the Board and Satya Nadella was named chief executive officer, taking over for Steve Ballmer.

Thompson was inducted into the FAMU SBI Hall of Fame in 2011.