Scott McNealy

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Scott McNealy
Scott McNealy 2005 (45227110).jpg
McNealy in 2005
Born (1954-11-13) November 13, 1954 (age 63)
Columbus, Indiana
Known for CEO and co-founder,
Sun Microsystems[1]
Spouse(s) Susan McNealy (m. 1994)
Children Maverick, Colt, Dakota, Scout
Website Sun Microsystems Scott McNealy bio

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. He founded Curriki,[1] and in 2010, he co-founded and is Executive Chairman of Wayin, based in Denver.[2]


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. McNealy started out working at his father's company American Motors [3] and later became manufacturing director at Onyx Systems,[4][5] a vendor of microprocessor-based Unix systems. In 1982, he was approached by fellow Stanford alumnus Vinod Khosla to help provide the necessary organizational and business leadership for Sun. The name "Sun" was derived from Andy Bechtolsheim's original SUN (Stanford University Network) computer project, the SUN workstation.[5]

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 Motors Corporation; most of his work experience prior to joining Sun was in automotive manufacturing.[4][5]

According to the book The Decline and Fall of Nokia, Scott McNealy was the "dream candidate" to become CEO of Nokia in 2010.[6] However, McNealy said he was not offered the job.[7]

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; he has referred to himself as a "golf major" who wound up running a high-tech business.[8][9]

He graduated from the same secondary school as 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (Cranbrook School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan), and supported Romney's presidential campaign. He is the commissioner of the Alternative Golf Association (known as "Flogton").[10] He was co-founder and Chairman of Wayin.[citation needed]

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 1987, McNealy was named an Award Recipient of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Northern California Region.[11]


In 1999, Stephen Manes quoted McNealy as saying, "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."[12] 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."[12] The authors of Privacy in the 21st Century admitted, "While a shocking statement, there is an element of truth in it."[13]

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."[14]

Most notably, McNealy is an outspoken libertarian and proponent of laissez-faire capitalism.[15] He makes regular appearances on the Fox Business Channel to discuss libertarian business issues.[16]


  1. ^ a b Scott McNeally interviewed on the TV show Triangulation on the network
  2. ^ Clark, Don (May 22, 2015). "Scott McNealy Is Back - as a Startup CEO". The Wall Street Journal. p. B1. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Scott McNealy and Sun Microsystems", Center for Management Research, Case Code LDEN039, 2006 [1]
  5. ^ a b c Brent Schlender (October 13, 1997). "Javaman the adventures of scott mcnealy today's episode his fight to save the world wide web from the evil empire". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-17. They called their box the SUN – for Stanford University Network – workstation. The investor was intrigued; within a month, Sun Microsystems was born. 
  6. ^ Cord, David (2014). The Decline and Fall of Nokia. Schildts & Söderströms. pp. 190–192. ISBN 978-951-52-3320-2. 
  7. ^ McNealy, Scott. "Not likely.." Twitter. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  8. ^ John Steinbreder; Narayanan, S.; Murad, M.A. (June 1998). "Handicapping America's CEOs". Golf Digest. 7 (3): 215. doi:10.1159/000026045. Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, once quipped: 'Am I a computer scientist? No, I'm a golf major.' A former captain of the Harvard golf team, he now plays to a 3.2 Handicap Index – lowest of any top executive. 
  9. ^ "On the Record: Scott McNealy". San Francisco Chronicle. September 14, 2003. 
  10. ^ Glier, Ray (May 8, 2011). "Turning Golf Tradition on Its Head". The New York Times. Retrieved June 30, 2017. 
  11. ^ "InstallShield® Software Corporation Co-Founder And CEO Named National Finalist In Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program". 
  12. ^ a b Manes, Stephen (April 18, 2000). "Private Lives? Not Ours!". PC World. 18 (6): 312. ISSN 0737-8939. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  13. ^ Adams, Helen R.; Bocher, Robert F.; Gordon, Carol A.; Barry-Kessler, Elizabeth (2005). "The Future of Privacy in Libraries". Privacy in the 21st Century. Libraries Unlimited. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-59158-209-0. 
  14. ^ Vance, Ashlee (January 12, 2006). "Sun and Apple almost merged three times – Bill Joy". The Register. 
  15. ^ "On the Record: Scott McNealy". The San Francisco Chronicle. September 14, 2003. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  16. ^ "Sun Microsystems' McNealy on Economy". Fox Business. 

External links

  • Scott McNealy on Twitter
  • Scott McNealy's biography at the International Directory of Business Biographies
  • Computer History Museum, 11-Jan-2006: Sun Founders Panel
  • Scott McNealy on IMDb
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Marketplace: "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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