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John E. Kelly III ’78

Senior Vice President and Director of Research
IBM

John E. Kelly III is IBM senior vice president and director of research.  In this position he directs the worldwide operations of IBM Research, with approximately 3,000 technical employees at nine laboratories, in seven countries around the world, and helps guide IBM’s overall technical strategy. 

Kelly’s top priority as head of IBM Research is to stimulate innovation in key areas of information technology, and quickly bring those innovations into the marketplace to sustain and grow IBM’s existing business, to create the new businesses of IBM’s future, and to apply these innovations to help our clients succeed.

He also leads IBM’s worldwide intellectual property efforts. IBM has led the world in U.S. patents for 17 consecutive years, generating nearly 5,000 patents in 2009 (on average over a dozen patents per day), and driving over $1B per year income from its intellectual property.

Prior to beginning his current assignment in July of 2007, he was senior vice president of technology and intellectual property, responsible for IBM’s technical and innovation strategies. 

Kelly joined IBM in 1980. Between 1980 and 1990, he held numerous management and technical positions related to the development and manufacturing of IBM’s advanced semiconductor technologies. In 1990, he was named director of IBM’s Semiconductor Research and Development Center. Between 1994 and 2000, he held several VP and GM positions across IBM’s businesses. In 2000, he was named senior vice president and group executive for IBM’s Technology Group, where he was responsible for developing, manufacturing and marketing IBM’s microelectronics and storage technologies, products and services.

He received a B.S. in physics from Union College in 1976. He received an M.S degree in physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1978 and his doctorate in materials engineering from Rensselaer in 1980. In 2004, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from The Graduate School at Union College.

Kelly is on the Board of Governors of The IBM Academy of Technology; a board member and former chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Association; a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; and on the Board of Trustees of Union College.

He has received numerous technical and business leadership awards, including the Semiconductor Industry’s highest honor, the Robert E. Noyce Award.

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John E. Kelly III
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John E. Kelly III ’78
Active Trustee:
September 2010 – current

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