Updated: Feb. 4, 2014
John W. Thompson joined the Microsoft Board in February 2012 and became independent chairman of Microsoft Corporation on Feb. 4, 2014.
Thompson is the chief executive officer of privately held Virtual Instruments, whose products are designed to ensure the performance and availability of applications deployed in virtualized and private cloud computing environments. Thompson is also the former chairman and CEO of Symantec Corp.
Since 2009, Thompson has been an active investor in early-stage technology companies in Silicon Valley.
During his 10-year tenure as CEO of Symantec, he helped transform the company into a leader in security, storage and systems management solutions. Thompson stepped down as CEO in 2009, and stepped down from Symantec's board of directors in 2011.
Previously, Thompson held a number of leadership positions at IBM, including sales, marketing, software development and general manager of IBM Americas, and was also a member of IBM's Worldwide Management Council.
He has served on a number of government boards and commissions, including the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the National Infrastructure Advisory Committee, and the Silicon Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force on Aviation Security and Technology. He formerly served on the national board of Teach for America, an organization dedicated to eliminating educational inequities for all children. He has also served on the boards of NIPSCO (Northern Indiana Public Service Company), Fortune Brands, Seagate Technologies, and United Parcel Service.
Thompson received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M, and a master's degree in Management from the Sloan Fellows program of the MIT Sloan School of Management.