John W. Thompson – Black History Month

John W. Thompson

Mr. John W. Thompson, is best known as the second chairman of Microsoft and the first African-American in that position. He was also the CEO of Symantec until his retirement in 2009.


Thompson received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida A&M University (1971) and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management (1983).


Thompson started out at IBM in 1971, where for 28 years, working his way up the ranks and worked in positions, including senior executive positions in sales, marketing and software development, and lastly as general manager of IBM Americas and member of the Worldwide Management Council.

He became the CEO of Symantec in 1999, where he remained for about 10 years, where he helped increase revenue tremendously, as well as its labor force. After retiring from Symantec, he became the CEO of Virtual Instruments. He resigned from Virtual Instruments in 2011.

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

Currently, he serves a Chairman of the Board and an Executive Advisor Riverwood Capital Management.


Thompson has received the Pioneer Business Leader award at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s 2010 Pioneers & Purpose event, recognizing his accomplishments in business and education.


His LinkedIn: