John Thompson was appointed recently as the new chairman of the board for Microsoft Corporation, first African American chief executive of a major technology company.
He replaces chairman and co-founder Bill Gates. Thompson, 64, initially joined Microsoft in 2013 as director of the boar,
“One of my key contributions, I hope, will be to engage with shareholders and keep focused on how together we can bring great innovation to the market and drive strong, long-term shareholder value, and regain market share from competitors Apple and Google,” he said< p>Thompson has a knack for sales and helped grow his former employer Symantec from $632 million to $6.2 billion and led the growth of its worldwide workforce to more than 17,500 employees.
Thompson, was raised in South Florida by working-class parents, a teacher and a postal worker. In school, he played clarinet and saxophone, earning a band scholarship that sent him to college in Missouri.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and a master’s degree from the Sloan Fellows program of the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1983.
He owns a 20 percent share of the Golden State Warriors NBA team. He is estimated to be worth over $72 million.
Thompson was considered for a potential candidate for the post of commerce secretary during President Obama’s first term. Rep. Nancy Pelosi appointed him to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2009.