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Microsoft Hires Former Symantec CEO and IBM Exec John Thompson

The Redmond-based software giant has hired a new board member, John W. Thompson, the Chief Executive Officer of Virtual Instruments and former Chairman and CEO of Symantec. With the addition of Thompson, Microsoft’s board’s size reaches to 10 members.

He is currently serving as CEO of Virtual Instruments that provides products ensuring the performance and availability of applications set up in virtualized and private cloud computing environments. Thompson has also previously served as Chairman and CEO of Symantec from 1999 to 2009. In that ten year tenure at Symantec, he raised the company’s revenues from $600 million to $6 billion. He resigned from CEO post in 2009, while remained a member of board until 2011.

John Thompson

Thompson also remained a part of IBM in the past where he served at different executive positions, including sales, marketing, software development and General Manager of IBM Americas. Some reports suggest that he also served as Commerce Secretary under the Obama Administration.


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Microsoft’s Chairman, Bill Gates said, “John has extraordinary technology and business expertise, and we are delighted that he is joining Microsoft’s board of directors.”

The Microsoft’s board of directors consists of Gates, CEO Steve Ballmer; Dina Dublon, former chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase; Raymond Gilmartin, former chairman, president and CEO of Merck & Co. Inc.; Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings; Dr. Maria M. Klawe, president, Harvey Mudd College; David F. Marquardt, general partner at August Capital; Charles H. Noski, vice chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut G. W. Panke, former chairman of the board of management at BMW AG; and John Thompson.

The history reveals that both Symantec and Microsoft have never been in a healthy relationship, but Thompson’s nomination as member of board is interesting news. According to ZDNet, Thompson described Microsoft as a partner, ally and competitor to Symantec back in 2007.

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