African American tech executive John Thompson has been appointed the new chairman of Microsoft Corporation, replacing chairman and co-founder Bill Gates. Thompson is the former CEO of Symantec Corporation and hopes to bring Microsoft into better competition with Apple and Google. He was the first and only African American leader of a major technology company and will continue the legacy with Microsoft. Thompson will work with the a new CEO, Satya Nadella. Thompson initially joined Microsoft in 2013 as director of the board.
64-year-old Thompson is a native of Fort Dix, New Jersey and was raised in Riviera Beach, Florida. His parents worked as a postal worker and a teacher.
Thompson is a graduate of Florida A&M University,who started his career in technology with IBM as a sales rep. He attended graduate school under the Sloan Fellows program at MIT. After 27 years with IBM and one vice presidency later, Thompson left to lead Symantec as CEO. He brought the company from $600 million in sales to $6 billion in ten years.
Thompson also runs Virtual Instruments Inc. based in San Jose, California. As part of his responsibilities, Thompson will implement a new organizational structure. He also owns a percentage of the Golden State Warriors. He is estimated to be worth over $72 million as of 2006.