The High-Tech Exec
The Rutgers University Alumni Association salutes 2010 Hall of Distinguished Alumni honoree Greg Brown LC’82, co-CEO of Motorola Inc. Join us as we celebrate Brown and other distinguished alumni at our gala event on Saturday, May 1, 2010. Register now to receive an early reservation discount!
Greg Brown LC’82 is a people person. As co-chief executive officer at Motorola Inc., he oversees more than 64,000 employees worldwide, and he considers all of them an invaluable part of the team.
| Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni |
honoree Greg Brown LC’82 is
co-CEO of Motorola Inc.
“It’s the people we have developed and promoted, the teams we have built. It’s all about people,” he says about his role leading the Illinois-based Fortune 500 telecommunications company whose portfolio of technologies, solutions, and services include the familiar wireless handsets and accessories, digital entertainment devices, wireless access systems, and voice and data communications systems.
Brown’s people-centric approach to business stems a lot from his family upbringing and his Rutgers roots. “At home, our front door was always open. Friends and neighbors were always stopping by,” says Brown, who was raised in North Brunswick and Highland Park and considers himself a true “Jersey boy.” He also learned a lot from his parents, calling his father a great communicator and his mother an eternal optimist. His brothers were also role models in many ways, but mostly because of their strong work ethic.
Having grown up a stone’s throw away from Rutgers, Brown enrolled at Livingston College after high school. Though he was a commuter student, he made the most of his time on campus. He remembers the “newish” Louis Brown Athletic Center (aka the RAC), hanging out at Lucy Stone and Beck halls, as well as the diverse student body.
While at Rutgers, Brown really connected with one particular person. Economics professor Robert Guttman was “unbelievable,” he remembers fondly. “I absolutely adored him. He made the Rutgers experience most special.” Guttman’s classes motivated Brown to major in economics, but it was the now retired professor’s overall character that really inspired him. “He taught me that it was okay to have a different view, about the importance of speaking up. He was always giving of his time, and he cared a lot about his students.”
Brown has stayed in touch with Guttman throughout his career, which began at AT&T just after his Rutgers graduation in 1982. “I loaded up my rusted-out Volkswagen Beetle and a U-Haul, and drove to Detroit,” Brown says. Though he didn’t have any professional telecommunications experience—“it was baptism by fire”—he did well at AT&T in various sales and marketing positions. He then moved on to Ameritech, where he rose to the position of president of Ameritech Custom Business Services and Ameritech New Media Inc., and later became chairman and CEO of Micromuse Inc., a network management software company.
At Motorola since 2003, Brown has headed four different businesses, including the government and public safety, networks, enterprise, and automotive units. He also led the $3.9 billion acquisition of Symbol Technologies, the second-largest transaction in Motorola’s history and an important strategic move to strengthen Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility Business. He served as president and chief operating officer in 2007 prior to being named co-CEO of Motorola Inc. and CEO of Motorola’s Broadband Mobility Solutions business.
Brown is extremely passionate about Motorola, a company whose technologies and solutions are there “in the moments that matter,” he says. For example, Motorola is a worldwide leader in developing public safety and emergency response technologies, such as push-to-talk devices and mission-critical networks. Motorola is also a major player in the cell-phone evolution. “In the next 50 years,” Brown says, “you’ll see devices that will blow people away.” He projects that phones will take on capabilities that are even more central to people’s everyday lives, such as car keys and credit cards.
The development of such technologies, of course, leads to concerns about information security, another area in which Brown has much expertise. He has been a member of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee since 2004, and on behalf of Motorola he frequently visits Washington, D.C., to discuss telecommunications practices and policies with federal legislators.
But despite the many demands on his time, Brown rarely says no when his beloved Rutgers comes calling. “I’m fiercely proud of Rutgers,” he says. A dedicated fan and supporter of the Rutgers football program, Brown flew almost 15 hours from Egypt in order to make it back to New Jersey in time for the Rutgers vs. West Virginia game in 2006. He has also contributed funds toward the creation of a new recruiting lounge and welcome center at Rutgers Stadium. “The twin successes of Rutgers football in the classroom and on the field continue to be a tremendous source of pride for members of the university community and the people of New Jersey and beyond,” says Brown, who is also a member of the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Overseers.
Brown is equally committed to supporting Rutgers students in the classroom. His wife’s grandfather was the first chair of the Department of Psychology at Rutgers College in 1928, and her grandmother was the college’s first female professor. Brown honors this legacy by supporting the Rutgers Psychological Clinic at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology.
Whether he’s in Illinois, Washington, New Jersey, or even overseas, Brown aims to make a difference through his visionary leadership and communication skills, qualities that he appreciates in others and that bolster his many success—all characteristics of a true people person. Meet Greg Brown at this year’s Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala on Saturday, May 1. Early registration is now open at Ralumni.com/HDA.