News Release: FAMU
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumnus John W. Thompson was appointed the independent chairman of computer software giant Microsoft Corp., replacing company founder Bill Gates.
Thompson, a 1971 graduate of the School of Business and Industry (SBI), first joined Microsoft's board of directors in February 2012, serving as a lead independent director, a role he will continue in tandem with the appointment.
“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 was inducted into the FAMU SBI Hall of Fame in 2011.
“John’s selection as chairman of Microsoft, one of the world’s most accomplished software companies, is a testament to the preparation that students receive at FAMU,” said Shawnta Friday-Stroud, dean of SBI. “He has been a major supporter of SBI through both his time and resources. We are extremely proud.”
In addition to chairman of the Microsoft board, Thompson is the chief executive officer of privately held Virtual Instruments. He is the former chairman and CEO of Symantec where he served for 10 years. Previously, he 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.
Thompson received his bachelor's degree in business administration from FAMU. He earned a master's degree in management from the Sloan Fellows program of the MIT Sloan School of Management.
According to Microsoft, 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.