Microsoft Adds Former Symantec CEO And IBM Exec John Thompson To Board

Microsoft has added a new board member today—John W. Thompson, the chief executive officer of Virtual Instruments and former chairman and CEO of Symantec. This brings Microsoft’s board’s size to 10 members.

Thompson currently serves as CEO of Virtual Instruments, which offers products that ensure the performance and availability of applications deployed in virtualized and private cloud computing environments. Thompson also served as chairman and CEO of Symantec from 1999 to 2009, where he grew revenues from $600 million to over $6 billion. He stepped down as CEO of Symantec in 2009, and stepped down from Symantec’s board of directors in 2011.

Previously, Thompson held a number of executive positions at IBM, including sales, marketing, software development and general manager of IBM Americas. Thompson was also reportedly being considered as Commerce Secretary under the Obama Administration.

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

In addition to Thompson, 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.; and Dr. Helmut G. W. Panke, former chairman of the board of management at BMW AG.

Symantec has had a complex relationship with Microsoft over the past, which makes Thompson’s appointment interesting. As described by ZDNet in 2007, Thompson has previously described Microsoft as a partner, ally and competitor to Symantec.