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Scott G. McNealy

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Title: Scott G. McNealy  
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Subject: Sun Microsystems
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Scott G. McNealy

Scott McNealy
Born (1954-11-13) November 13, 1954 (age 59)
Columbus, Indiana
Known for CEO and co-founder,
Sun Microsystems

Scott McNealy (born November 13, 1954) is an American businessman. He co-founded computer technology company Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Bill Joy, and Andy Bechtolsheim. As of September 2012 he is chairman of Wayin, based in Denver.[1]


Sun Microsystems, along with companies such as Apple Inc., Silicon Graphics, 3Com, and Oracle Corporation, was part of a wave of successful startup companies in California's Silicon Valley during the early and mid-1980s. In 1982, McNealy, who was then manufacturing director at Onyx Systems,[2][3] a vendor of microprocessor-based Unix systems, was approached by fellow Stanford alumnus Vinod Khosla to help provide the necessary organizational and business leadership for the fledgling company. The name "Sun" was derived from Bechtolsheim's original SUN (Stanford University Network) computer project, the SUN workstation.[3]

In 1984, McNealy took over the CEO role from Khosla, who would ultimately leave the company in 1985. On April 24, 2006, McNealy stepped down as CEO after serving in that position for 22 years, and turned the job over to Jonathan Schwartz. McNealy is one of the few CEOs of a major corporation to have had a tenure of over twenty years.

Unlike most people who become involved in high technology industries, Scott McNealy did not come from the world of amateur programmers, hackers, and computer scientists. Instead, his background was in business, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to college, he graduated from Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father was in the automotive industry as the Vice Chairman of the American Motor Corp; most of his work experience prior to joining Sun was in automotive manufacturing.[2][3]

Personal life

McNealy was born in Columbus, Indiana. He is married, and has four sons: Maverick, Dakota, Colt, and Scout. He is known to be an enthusiastic ice hockey player and has been ranked as one of the best golfers in executive ranks; McNealy has self-deprecatingly referred to himself as a "golf major" who wound up running a high-tech business.[4] He is a self-described libertarian.[5] McNealy was a classmate of 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney at Cranbrook School and vocally and financially supported him throughout his presidential campaign. He is the commissioner of the Alternative Golf Association (known as "Flogton").[6]

Co-Founder and Chairman of Wayin

Positions at Sun

  • Chairman of the Board of Directors from April 2006 to January 2010
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer from April 2004 to April 2006
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer from July 2002 to April 2004
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer from April 1999 to June 2002
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer from December 1984 to April 1999
  • President and Chief Operating Officer from February 1984 to December 1984
  • Vice President of Operations from February 1982 to February 1984


In 1999, Stephen Manes quoted McNealy as saying, "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."[7] Manes criticized the statement in his Full Disclosure column: "He's right on the facts, wrong on the attitude. ... Instead of 'getting over it', citizens need to demand clear rules on privacy, security, and confidentiality."[7] The authors of Privacy in the 21st Century admitted, "While a shocking statement, there is an element of truth in it."[8]

McNealy was an early advocate of the networked environment; his company's motto was "The Network is the Computer". At times, he has been known to be skeptical of products that do not integrate well with networked environments. One example McNealy has given involved the Apple iPod. As quoted in The Register, McNealy said, "There’s a pendulum thing where stuff is on the client side and then goes back into the network where it belongs. The answering machine put voicemail by the desk, and then it went back into the network. Your iPod is like your home answering machine. I guarantee you it will be hard to sell an iPod five or seven years from now when every cell phone can access your entire music library wherever you are."[9]

Most notably, McNealy is an outspoken libertarian and proponent of laissez-faire capitalism.[10] He makes regular appearances on Fox Business channel to discuss libertarian business issues.[11]


External links

Information technology portal
Biography portal
  • Scott McNealy on Twitter
  • Scott McNealy's biography at the International Directory of Business Biographies
  • Computer History Museum, 11-Jan-2006: Sun Founders Panel
  • Internet Movie Database
  • : "A different way of doing business", a radio interview with McNealy
  • McNealy's foray into providing educational resources to school children worldwide
  • USA Today story about McNealy and other CEOs who have played golf with Tiger Woods
  • McNealy meets with a group of UK entrepreneurs (2008 video)
  • McNealy to Ellison: How to duck death by open source
Business positions
Preceded by
Vinod Khosla
CEO of Sun Microsystems
Succeeded by
Jonathan Schwartz
Preceded by
Owen Brown
President of Sun Microsystems
Succeeded by
Edward Zander
Preceded by
Edward Zander
Succeeded by
Jonathan Schwartz
Preceded by
Vinod Khosla
Chairman of Sun Microsystems
Company acquired by Oracle Corporation

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