George Henry Conrades (born 1939)

Wikipedia 🌐 George Conrades

Born - 1939 (See "who's who" at ( [HL0060][GDrive] )


Worked at :


Saved Wikipedia (Jan 1, 2021) - George Conrades


George Conrades is the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of [Akamai Technologies, Incorporated]. Prior to Akamai, Conrades served as CEO of [BBN Technologies, Incorporated]. Before joining BBN he spent 31 years at IBM, running its U.S. and Asia-Pacific businesses and heading two manufacturing and development groups.[3]Mr. Conrades currently serves on the Board of Directors of Oracle Corporation,[4]. He has also served on the Boards of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals[5] and Harley-Davidson.[6]

Conrades was also an executive producer of the 2013 documentary film 20 Feet from Stardom, which won the 2014 Academy award for Best Documentary.[8] He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[9] He is married to Patricia “Patsy” Belt Conrades.[10]


Conrades spent his childhood in Youngstown, Ohio, during the 1950s. He planned to become a drummer.

In 1961, he received his B.S. degree in Physics and Mathematics from Ohio Wesleyan University, and received the M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1971.[9] He was going to join a rock band after his graduation, but took the position of a sales representative in Big Blue, Columbus, Ohio[citation needed].

After 10 years at IBM, Conrades got a sales management position in Chicago and inherited the company's fifth largest account, Sears, Roebuck & Co.

In 1971, he entered for the Executive MBA Program North America at Booth. The program provided broad perspectives of business.

The MBA helped Conrades to make a good career at IBM. He took top management positions at IBM for more than two decades. Conrades advanced to the rank of senior vice president and member of the Corporate Management Board. But by late 1980s, IBM faced contest in technological businesses. In 1992, Conrades left his top management position.

Conrades formed a technology consulting firm in the advanced R&D company Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN). The company was based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. BBN became an early internet service provider.[11]

1939 to 1990 : Early life and career : From 2013 - "No Better Time" by Molly Knight Raskin

PDF - made from recording, with OCR - [HB005L][GDrive]

Pages 167 - 172 in OCR copy :

  • [...] Conrades first laid eyes on a computer as a student in math and physics at Ohio Wesleyan University. Conrades, who graduated from the university in 1961, was then somewhat of a star on the university's campus. Handsome and charismatic, he served as president of both his fraternity and the student body.

  • He played the drums in a rock 'n' roll band, which he described as "full of testosterone," and spent a lot of time in the physics lab trying to blow things up. But Conrades was also a standout student with a gift for both math and physics. So when the head of the school's math department decided to offer a computing course, Conrades signed up. Before he knew it, he'd learned to program one of IBM's earliest models, the 650. In his day, Conrades said, ''No one had even heard of computers." With a love for motorcycles, hot rod cars, and "anything that moved," Conrades said that he took one look at the colossal machine with its blinking red lights and rotating magnetic drum and fell in love. With its relatively low cost and ease of programming, the 650 was marketed as a teaching computer to science and engineering schools across the country. Conrades became so skilled at programming that, before he graduated, some of the faculty members at Wesleyan approached him with a list of computer companies, including IBM, Honeywell, and NCR (National Cash Register Company). ''They told me that I should interview at every one of them, and that I should be in technical sales," Conrades remembered. "I told them that I really wanted to make it as a rock star."

  • Reason prevailed, however, and Conrades landed an entry-level job at IBM, which by the 1960s had burgeoned into a $1 billion business. Conrades began as a systems engineer, and at the same time earned an executive MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business. Over the course of 31 years, he rose up through the ranks at IBM to become senior vice president of IBM North America, a $24 million business. In 1992, after a dispute with then-chairman of IBM John Akers, Conrades left the company. By 1994, he had become president and CEO of BBN Technologies, formerly Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, the technology and research fmn that helped build ARPANET. When Conrades joined BBN, the company was a think tank that survived on government contracts. Conrades leveraged the tremendous brainpower at BBN to transform the company into one of the world's largest Internet Service Providers. In 1997, GTE Corporation purchased BBN for $616 million, or $29 a share, more than double the stock's value when Conrades came aboard. But the corporate culture of GTE didn't agree with Conrades, and after a year spent as the president of GTE Intemetworking, he left and took a year off work for the first time in his career. Conrades could have comfortably retired, but he soon realized that slowing down was not for him, or his wife, Patsy, whom he met in college. "One day, I opened the freezer and suddenly everything was falling out-chicken and steak all over the place," recalled Conrades. "And Patsy looked at me and said, 'George, stay out of my freezer. And get a job."' The fact was, Conrades had spent too much time at the forefront of the digital age to sit on the sidelines of the dotcom craze. He wanted to play a part in the next big thing, so he looked to venture capital, which he said was raising its head in anticipation of the digital gold rush. In August 1998, he joined Polaris.

  • [...]


PDF : [HB005M][GDrive]

Epilog by David Walden

[...] The first section of this epilog continues from the point of Steve Levy’s section 6.6 discussion of BBN in the 1990s. That section, which starts on page 116, sketches the BBN transitions from the arrival of George Conrades as BBN CEO until the 1997 sale of BBN to GTE.1 The second and third sections of this epilog provide a more general picture of how BBN changed between 1997 and 2010.2

22.1 Changes in ownership

BBN under George Conrades as president and CEO invested heavily in expanding the market share of its Internet business, BBN Planet. This was in the era of the dot com boom. In time the need for continued investment in BBN Planet resulted in the sale of BBN to the telephone company GTE which wanted to be in the Internet business. In the two years following GTE’s June 1997 acquisition of BBN, GTE continued to operate BBN Systems and Technologies (the contract R&D business) and BBN Planet as separate businesses, investing over $1 billion in growing BBN Planet.

In the spring of 1999, as part of the continuing consolidation and evolution of the communications industry, GTE and Bell Atlantic announced that they had agreed to merge their two companies (in other words, Bell Atlantic acquired GTE). However, Bell Atlantic was one of the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) that resulted from the historic breakup of AT&T Corporation and was forbidden under the terms of the breakup from being in the “long-distance service” business. BBN Planet’s Internet business was deemed to be a long distance business by the Federal Communications Commission; consequently, prior to effecting the merger with GTE, Verizon had to relinquish control of BBN Planet.3 Verizon accomplished this divestiture of control by allowing BBN Planet to sell $2 billion of its shares in the public market. The resulting public company was named Genuity. 4

At the time of Genuity’s IPO in the summer of 2000, BBN Technologies5 continued to operate under its own name as a wholly owned business unit of Verizon Communications. Then in February 2004, BBN Technologies became a privately held company again, having been acquired from Verizon by private investors (primarily Accel Partners of Palo Alto, California, and General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the management of the company. In October 2009, the 2004 investors cashed out of their investment, selling BBN to Raytheon for $350 million.6

22.2 The classic BBN culture and business

Not surprisingly, when George Conrades came to BBN as CEO, he brought in new senior managers (see Figure 6.11) with skills he didn’t see in traditional BBN managers, many of whom had come up through the technical side of the company. In particular, the position of Frank Heart (see had as president of BBN Technologies was taken over by David Campbell ( ) who came from an executive position outside of BBN.8 Campbell brought in additional key managers from outside BBN, reorganized BBN Technologies, and in general worked on redirecting BBN Technologies’s business in ways he thought appropriate.

[ See The President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP) ..

"AUG 25, 1997", Clinton also appointed Charles R. Lee, chief executive officer of GTE Corp. of Stamford, Conn., David N. Campbell, president of BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Mass., and Elvin Moon, president of E.W. Moon Engineering & Construction Management Industries of Los Angeles, to serve on the team advising the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP). " ]

When BBN was acquired by GTE in June 1997, David Campbell became a senior executive of the GTE Technology Office, managing GTE Laboratories and a few other GTE held activities, and still personally managed BBN Technologies. Campbell did the job he was assigned and tried to fit BBN Technologies into the GTE culture and organization.

As a result of such reshaping—and the prior emphasis within BBN from 1995 to 1997 on exploiting BBN’s Internet activities and changing BBN Technologies’ business direction—BBN Technologies’ traditional research and development business suffered. Many good researchers and managers left, and for several years the company did an insufficient job of recruiting the potential stars of tomorrow.9

Nonetheless, a number of influential BBN Technologies old timers (and an influential consultant) were committed to preserving the “classic” BBN culture and business. They were able to convince David Campbell that BBN Technologies needed its own dedicated leader. In the first half of 1998 a committee consisting of one long-time, senior BBN person and two outside people who knew BBN Technologies’ traditional strengths undertook a search for a dedicated leader of BBN Technologies.

Ed Starr, who had joined BBN in 1959 and was serving as part of Campbell’s top management team, was chosen to be president of BBN Technologies. Starr was well known and respected throughout the company, having worked as a project leader and business leader in many capacities all around the company. However, Starr was planning to go to half-time work the next year and was thinking about full retirement. Starr agreed to serve as president for 18 months; and Tad Elmer was designated as Starr’s successor.

Elmer also had been on the search committee’s list, but he had never run a companywide activity. Elmer was a department manager who had been with BBN for many years and also was well known and respected throughout the company. Elmer had demonstrated entrepreneurial capability, having initiated a new branch office and moved his department into new business areas, particularly at the intersection of BBN’s involvement with computers and acoustics. Elmer worked closely with Starr, watching and learning.

Ed Starr did cut back his hours (and eventually retired), and Tad Elmer became president.10 With Starr and then Elmer at the helm, BBN Technologies began to reassert its traditional culture and approach to business (and financial viability).

By the time of the Bell Atlantic acquisition of GTE and the spin off of Genuity (what had previously been called BBN Planet), the BBN Technologies business and culture had already been substantially reinvigorated.

Verizon did not try to integrate BBN Technologies into the rest of its business. Instead it treated BBN Technologies benignly, and there was mutual respect between Verizon and BBN Technologies. BBN did do a little bit of work for Verizon, but generally BBN’s technologies were in too far from being off-the-shelf products to be useful to Verizon.

During the almost four year it was part of Verizon, BBN Technologies flourished in its classic business. Visiting BBN during that period, I heard one-time BBN colleagues of mine say that is was like the old BBN again—perhaps better.

In 2003 Verizon needed to change its capital structure in preparation for a big investment in FIOS and began looking for buyers for parts of the company not central to its future, including seeking a buyer for BBN Technologies. Worried about coming under the control of another owner not interested in the classic BBN business, Tad Elmer and his management team were given permission by Verizon to seek investors who would make an equivalent financial offer to keep BBN Technologies what it was; and they found such investors.

The sale, primarily to Accel Partners of Palo Alto, California, and General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge, Massachusetts, happened in March 2004, and was celebrated within BBN Technologies and by retired BBN people who retained a strong emotional attachment to BBN classic business continuing to flourish.

Of course, the outside investors wanted BBN to make money for them. Thus, as had happened so often in BBN’s past,11 there was pressure once again to license technology and to create products in addition to pursuing the traditional contract research and development business. This time BBN Technologies tried to be particularly quick and nimble and to take advantage of the contacts of the venture capitalists who were its major investors.

A new division was created for the licensing and product opportunities led by Alex Laats who came from outside the company with entrepreneurial, licensing, and venture capital experience. Between 2004 and 2009, several product opportunities were pursued. Some examples are:

  • PodZinger12 audio and video search engine

  • AVOKETM system and services to examine telephone interactions from the caller’s perspective

  • Boomerang sniper detection localization system

  • Digital Force Technologies (acquisition of a company with specialized manufacturing capabilities)

Boomerang is an representative example. This system detects incoming smallarms fire and displays the azimuth, range, and elevation of the shooter; it can be installed on a vehicle in an hour. Based on BBN Technologies’ prior acoustics and computer technology experience and development work, in 2005 DARPA awarded BBN Technologies a contract to prototype this system. BBN completed a set of prototype systems in 65 days. Eschewing the approach BBN had used sometimes in the past of setting up its ownmanufacturing activity, BBN Technologies outsourced manufacturing for Boomerang with BBN engineers working closely with the engineers of the a contract manufacturer to modify the design for productization, reliability, and manufacturability. In 2006 the Army ordered over 100 systems, and through 2008 there were additional procurements totaling approximately 10,000 units.

Some of the other projects, for example, Podzinger and Avoke, benefitted from the connections of the ventures capitalist owners of BBN.

Over the same period, BBN Technologies grew and expanded its traditional research and development activities, in combination with the aforementioned product activities.

By the time of the sale of BBN Technologies to Raytheon in late 2009, BBN Technologies had doubled its yearly revenue, tripled its yearly profit, and paid off the debt resulting from the leveraged buyout from Verizon.

22.3 The evolution continues

The day before my April 1, 2010, interview with Tad Elmer and Steve Milligan, I studied the BBN Technologies website,, to try to understand how the areas in which BBN Technologies does research and development had changed since most of the chapters in this book were drafted in 2003. Looking under “technologies” on the website, I found the following categories:

  • Advance Networking

  • Cyber Security

  • Heathcare Informatics

  • Immersive Learning Technologies

  • Information and Knowledge Technologies

  • Sensor Systems

  • Speech and Language Technologies

Each of those areas listed between 5 and 30 subareas. While I could see some overlap with what I knew from 2003, much was different.

Tad Elmer explained that he believes in rearranging existing technical groups and adding new groups with fair regularity—to pursue new technology opportunities, especially at the intersections of previous technology areas where innovation so often happens.13 Furthermore, long-time areas of BBN expertise have expanded. For example, Elmer explained that the sensors and detection area (see Chapter 10) has expanded to detection using any sensor media (for example, sound, infrared, magnetism) to look into or through any sort of substance; and speech and language technology leaders John Makhoul and Ralph Weischedel already hinted (see Chapters 14 and 15) at expansion in their area. There also has been expansion in other areas.

I asked Elmer and Milligan if there were any principles that guide the ongoing evolution of BBN Technologies and development of its people. Milligan said that the senior technical leaders (the “principle investigators” who represent the company technically to customers and mentor the relevant technical people) are allowed to move in any direction they want as long as: (a) it is legal and ethical; (b) someone outside the company is willing to pay for the work; and (c) the work is generally fun and interesting for the people at BBN. Elmer said that point b can slightly dominate point c if the contract is big enough.14

Such flexibility not only is allowed; it is encouraged. Some senior people who did not enjoy change and moving into new areas and ways of organizing have left the company.

One can’t know for certain how BBN Technologies will change as a consequence of its purchase by Raytheon. However, given the company’s 62-year history as a preeminent innovator, one can assume that Raytheon and BBN Technologies will work hard to keep this powerful national resource working in its traditional way in an ever evolving set of problem areas.

Notes and References

  1. Some of the information in this chapter came from Steve Levy’s work on Chapter 6. Steve Blumenthal and Harry Forsdick providing confirming details on the Genuity-to-Level 3 transition in e-mails of April 3, 2010.
  2. This information came from an interview of BBN Technologies president Tad Elmer and chief technology officer Steve Milligan at BBN in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 1, 2010, and from an e-mail of June 27, 2003 from Ed Starr.
  3. GTE’s ownership of BBN Planet had not had a “long distance” problem because GTE had not been an RBOC.
  4. Verizon retained an option to convert, under certain conditions, the 10 percent ownership it held after the sale of the equity into a 90 percent ownership position in Genuity. Between 2000 and 2002, Genuity continued to invest heavily in its growth, and annual revenues grew to in excess of $1 billion. Nevertheless, after a cumulative investment approaching $6 billion, Genuity was still incurring heavy operating losses; and, in the fall of 2003, Verizon announced that it was not going to exercise its option to convert its 10 percent equity position in Genuity into a 90 percent ownership position. Given its heavy, negative cash flow Genuity was then forced to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy laws. In early 2003, Level 3, Inc., acquired the operating assets and business of Genuity for something on the order of $200 million.
  5. Somewhere along the line, the “Systems and” part of the BBN Systems and Technologies named was dropped.
  6. The 2004 purchase price has never been publicly disclosed, but the 2009 sale price purportedly produced a nice profit for the investors, especially in a time of generally poor economic results.
  7. See Chapter 7.
  8. Conrades himself led BBN Technologies for over a year, in addition to his many other duties, until he was able to bring Campbell on board.
  9. See the discussing of recruiting in section 5.2.
  10. Around the same time David Campbell left GTE.
  11. See Chapter 6.
  12. The system’s name was later changed to RAMP.
  13. Also, several years earlier BBN’s business related to ship quieting had been sold to Raytheon, thus eliminating that part of the company’s historic business.
  14. In mid 2012 Tad Elmer retired from BBN. According to the website, Ed Campbell is now president. At the time of his appointment as president, Ed had been with the company for 34 years and had been Tad Elmer’s deputy for many years.

1995 (June 21)

Full newspaper pages : pg 41 - [HN01FR][GDrive] / Pg 43 - [HN01FT][GDrive]

1995 (July 24)

Full newspaper Pages - D1 : [HN01FO][GDrive] / D5 : [HN01FQ][GDrive]

Year 1996 at GTE (summary provided mid-1997) - Does not list Conrades

1997 Report - Annual Summary for GTE for the year 1996

Source - [HC004Q][GDrive]

NOTE : It does list William Pelham Barr (born 1950)

1997 May 07 - GTE / BBN

Full newspaper pages : Page D1 at [HN01EJ][GDrive] , Page D2 at [HN01EL][GDrive]

1997 (Sep 02) - GTE Press Release (archived with Verizon) - "GTE announces the launch of its new operating unit, GTE Internetworking; Internet pioneer BBN Corp. and GTE Intelligent Network Services combine to offer complete Internet Protocol networking services."

Source - [HC004N][GDrive] / Full article at GTE Corporation .

""GTE Internetworking is uniquely positioned to offer our customers the only complete, integrated Internet services using Internet Protocol (IP) networking technologies," said [George Henry Conrades (born 1939)], corporate executive vice president and president of GTE Internetworking. "We're building upon BBN's technological heritage and capabilities plus GTE's customer base, expanding national footprint and diversified distribution channels. Our mission is to help customers improve their business processes through the integration of IP technologies and telecommunications." "

Year 1997 at GTE (summary provided mid-1998) - Conrades listed

1998 Report - Annual Summary for GTE for the year 1997

Source - [HC004R][GDrive]

  • [William Pelham Barr (born 1950)] Executive Vice President – Government and Regulatory Advocacy and General Counsel

  • [George Henry Conrades (born 1939)], Executive Vice President of GTE and President, GTE Internetworking

1997 Arkansas/GTE legal matter


1999-arkansas-public-service-commission-puli99-058-u-1-1-pg-01 02 03



GTE Becomes First to Receive Electronic Check Payment Via the Internet; Trusted Security Infrastructure for Internet Payment Solution Provided by GTE Internetworking

1998 (July 10)

It is clearly stated here that George Conrades is still a president at GTE Corporation .

Whole newspaper page 5b at [HN01FD][GDrive], page 6b at [HN01FE][GDrive]

1998 (July 16) - Announced he is leaving GTE - Joining Polaris

Full newspaper page - [HN01FI][GDrive]

1998 (July 28) - CNN - "Bell Atlantic buying GTE : Companies to combine in $52.8 billion stock swap; deal likely to face gov't hurdles"

NOTE date of this news release - Source at [HM001D][GDrive] / Full text available at GTE Corporation .

1998 (August) - Conrades now with Polaris

Source - 2013 book - By Molly Knight Raskin - "No Better Time" ; PDF - made from recording, with OCR - [HB005L][GDrive]

1998 (Summer time.. August ? September? ) - Conrades first meets Lewin and Leighton of Akamai

Source - 2013 book - By Molly Knight Raskin - "No Better Time" ; PDF - made from recording, with OCR - [HB005L][GDrive]

That summer [of 1998], Conrades first made the acquaintance of Lewin and Leighton, agreeing to meet them at the suggestion of Battery's Todd Dagres. Conrades recalled sitting through the pitch session and thinking that, as much as he liked the idea, he was initially uncertain about Akamai's business model. "I understood what they were saying-not at the level of the algorithms-but about making the Internet feasible for e-commerce and robust audio and visual interaction," Conrades explained. "I lived the problem at BBN, even though we threw a lot of money at it. That's when I learned that you can't throw enough money at the Internet to make it work right." By the end of the meeting, however Conrades was so impressed with Akamai 's solution that he felt Polaris had a potential gold mine. He helped convince Polaris to invest in Akamai, and decided to put in some money of his own, too. According to Conrades, his investment strategy was informed by four basic elements: the idea's greatness, the technology's potential impact, the business model's strength and, most importantly, the employees' overall caliber.

For Conrades, the people always came first. As for Akamai, he had no concerns about the people. Then he considered the idea. To him, the concept of what he called an "agnostic" network-one that provided a synoptic view of the Internet-was brilliant. "It was a big idea,"

1998 (Summer) - Akamai moves into their own offices, and out of MIT

Source - 2011 (Sep 13) Interview - F. Thomson (Tom) Leighton PhD ’81 / Transcript (below) - [HE003S][GDrive] ( video - )

And so we said, the only way we're going to do this is to do it ourselves, so let's give it a try. So we spun out of MIT at the end of the summer of '98, a year after the 50K started and got offices over in One Kendall and then called up those VCs and said, hey, we could use some money. Turned out to be harder than we thought to actually get the money on terms we wanted, so we had a period of about three to four months where we were funding it ourselves with friends and with some angels, professional angels. We had friends of friends we knew to bridge us to the first round with the VCs.

1998 - Some time in fall (but before OCt 03) .. meaning like Sep 24th 1998, Conrades is notified of opportunity to work with ICANN

Source - Domain Name System Privatization, is ICANN Out of Control?: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred Sixth Congress, First Session, July 22, 1999, Volume 4

Source = [HG00AY][GDrive] / Original but with OCR - [HG00AZ][GDrive]

The details of the contacts with each Director are summarized below. To provide some context: As part of the creation of the consensus structure that eventually became ICANN, there was considerable discussion about how this new entity would be managed .. Since it was, by definition, intended to be a global consensus entity, it was understood by all that its management should be globally diverse. While there was considerable discussion about how the permanent Board should be constituted, it was generally understood that the Initial Board members would have to be produced by the same consensus process that-was to. create the new entity itself.

In fact, that is what happened. Simultaneously with the effort to develop a consensus organization, the entire Internet .community was invited to propose people who would be suitable as Initial Board members. At first, the general view seemed to be that the Initial Board should represent the various stakeholders in the process - those groups or coalitions that wereseparately.ldentffled and had a specific Interest to advance. It quickly became clear that it was not going to be easy - and perhaps impossible - to come to a consensus using this approach, in part because the various stakeholders·showed no propensity for coming to consensus on their particular · representative, and in part because it was difficult to perceive a consensus on which stakeholder groups should be represented on the Initial Board. The focus then changed to finding what were referred to as •1uminaries•- peopleo f outstanding credentials and reputations who had not been engaged in the debates and whom the lnternet community would recognize and support as both qualified and neutral.

The Initial Board as it now stands is the result of that latter effort, which was engaged in by numerous people around the world. In addition to volunteered proposals, Jon Postel and IANA affirmatively sought out recommendations from the full range of participants in the debate, including NSI. A number of people who seemed to be attractive candidates were approached in various ways and declined to be considered; others who were recommended seemed inappropriate for a variety of reasons. After considerable discussion, the current roster of Initial Board members was finally reached. The original suggestions of those people who ultimately came to serve on the Initial Board came from private. individuals, business organizations, trade associations, and officials of various governmental organizations. The final decisions on who would be invited were made by Jon Postel, after considering all the advice and recommendations received and coming to a judgment that this group of individuals was likely to receive consensus support from the Internet community. The official invitations were issued on behalf of Dr. Postel by his counsel.

With that preamble, the following summarizes the details of the contacts that each individual director experienced:


2. George H. Conrades

Sometime last fall, Mr. Conrades received a call on his car phone from John Patrick, whom he knew from working together at IBM. Mr. Patrick asked him if he was familiar with IANA and the effort to form a new private sector entity to take over those responsibilities. Mr. Conrades said he was aware of the effort. Mr. Patrick then told him that his name had been suggested as a possible initial director of the entity, and asked if he would be interested; Mr. Patrick said that the Global Internet Project was supporting this effort, and that Mr. Conrades' background and experience in the industry, combined with the fact that he was no longer associated with any company, made him a particularly good choice as a knowledgeable but neutral candidate. He then suggested that Mr. Conrades call Roger Cochetti for more details, which he did, and he subsequently agreeJ to let his name be submitted to the USG. He ·then received a call from the counsel to Jon Postel, who confirmed that his name would be submitted and discussed dates for an initial meeting, which was held in October.


1998 (Oct 03) - Founding board member of ICANN

Full newspaper page - [HN01FM][GDrive]

1998 (November) - Akamai secures funding with Polaris and Battery Ventures; agrees to take Conrades on as a director

Source - 2013 book - By Molly Knight Raskin - "No Better Time" ; PDF - made from recording, with OCR - [HB005L][GDrive] ; Pages 104 - 105 in OCR copy

With the belief that the big venture money was soon to come, [Frank Thomson Leighton (born 1956)] signed the lease on a new office. Akamai moved from its tiny office space at One Kendall to the fourth floor of 201 Broadway in the heart of the Cambridge hub for high-tech firms. By November, everyone involved in the first-round financing rush was anxious-a deal was on the table, and it was a good one. Two prominent firms - Battery Ventures and Venrock - were ready to make an investment of $8 million ($4 million each) in Akamai. The deal was as good as done, signed, and delivered to Akamai's financial officers and attorneys for vetting. But on a Sunday, the night before the funds were to be wired into Akamai's account, Leighton's home phone rang. It was one of the general managers of Venrock. "We're sorry," he told Leighton. "We're not going to close the deal." Leighton was stunned. Venrock seemed like the perfect fit, having been an early investor in both Apple and Intel. The partner went on to explain: "I've thought hard about it, and I don't think you're going to be successful." Leighton could only think of one thing to say in response: "I think you're wrong."

In one phone call, Akamai lost half of the $8 million they'd been promised. Lewin immediately feared a domino effect after Venrock's sudden departure. Having turned down offers from almost all the local venture capital companies, they worried no one would even consider stepping in if Battery backed out, too. Dagres reassured them, though, offering to close the deal if Battery could take charge of finding another investor to fill the hole left by Venrock. Akamai agreed. Their best hope was Polaris Venture Partners, which had recently recruited George Conrades, a veteran from IBM and BBN (Bolt, Baranek Newman) who had long governed the intersection of business and cutting-edge technology. Dagres contacted Polaris with a deal: if the firm would supply the $4 million Akamai needed, the company would offer Conrades a position on its board. A deal was struck, and in November 1998, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Akamai secured its first round of financing from Battery and Polaris.

Leighton and Lewin retained control of the company with a stake of $8 million. Lewin took the title of chief technology officer, and Leighton became chief scientist. Seelig assumed the role of vice president for Strategy and Corporate Development. Kaplan became vice president for Business Development.

George H. Conrades has served as Chairman and Chief Executive OÇcer of Akamai since April 1999 and as a director since December 1998. Mr. Conrades has also been a venture partner of Polaris Venture Partners, Inc., an early stage investment company, since August 1998. From August 1997 to July 1998, Mr. Conrades served as Executive Vice President of GTE and President of GTE Internetworking, an integrated telecommunication services Ñrm. Mr. Conrades served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive OÇcer of BBN Corporation, a national Internet services provider and Internet technology research and development company, from January 1994 until its acquisition by GTE Internetworking in July 1997. Prior to joining BBN Corporation, Mr. Conrades was an IBM Senior Vice President and a Member of IBM's Corporate Management Board. Mr. Conrades is currently a director of Viacom, Inc., a media company, and Cardinal Health, Inc., a health care company.

1999 (Jan 15) - Confirmation Conrades is a director at Akamai

Full newspaper page - [HN01FK][GDrive]

1999 (April 08) - Conrades named CEO of Akamai

Full newspaper page - [HN01FG][GDrive]

Year 1998 at GTE (summary provided mid-1999) - Does NOT list Conrades

1999 Report - Annual Summary for GTE for the year 1998

Source - [HC004S][GDrive]

Career at Akamai -From 2013 - "No Better Time" by Molly Knight Raskin

PDF - made from recording, with OCR - [HB005L][GDrive]

Pages 167 - 172 in OCR copy :

  • Leighton recalled having a conversation with Lewin early on about the top role, which either of them could have easily assumed. Lewin didn't want to be CEO, but said he'd work for Leighton if he wanted the job. Leighton said he didn't want the job, but that he would work for Lewin if he did. This set off a formal search for a CEO that, by the spring of 1999, was well into its third month. A top executive search firm regularly sent candidates to Cambridge, but when it came time to decide on someone to fill the job, Lewin couldn't commit. The reason, Leighton said, was that Lewin had already decided on the man for the job. In fact, he'd made up his mind before Akamai even incorporated, drafting a list of dream CEOs for his dream company. Topping the list was George Conrades.

  • At age sixty, Conrades was comfortably settled into a plumb job as a Venture Partner at Polaris. After four decades on the frontlines of two of the most successful computing companies-International Business Machine (IBM) and Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (later BBN Technologies} Conrades had retired from the career-climbing race. Or so he thought.

  • [...]

  • When Polaris put $4 million into Akamai 's first round of financing, Conrades agreed to sit on the company's board. At the time, he had no idea that Lewin had a plan to lure him into the role of Akamai's CEO. "It was a whole seduction to get George," recalled Leighton. "Of course we knew he wouldn't be our CEO on day one, so Danny worked to get him on our board. Then we got him on the board and kept working on getting him as CEO." Conrades knew Akamai was actively searching for a CEO, but was unaware of Lewin's subtle efforts to court him. So when Lewin and Leighton invited him for breakfast at Harvest restaurant in Cambridge in late March 1999, Conrades wasn't expecting them to offer him Akamai's top job. "We told him point blank, we need you to be CEO -what's it going to take?" remembered Leighton.

  • Conrades laid out some terms, and Lewin said they'd get back to him later that day. On the way home from lunch, Leighton noted, instead of celebrating what was sure to be a win for Akamai, Lewin suggested they push back on Conrades's terms. "I'm driving away from the restaurant, and Danny is saying how he wants to negotiate," observed Leighton. "I said, 'Danny, what are you doing? Just say yes!"' Leighton added: ''That was Danny, always wanting to negotiate the best possible deal."

  • In the end, there wasn't much negotiating, and, on April 7, 1999, George Conrades became Akamai's first CEO, a fitting position for a man who had long been associated with speed. "To me, Akamai is like Fed Ex," explained Conrades. "Fed Ex changed the game on the postal service, and we changed the game on the Internet." The media seized on Conrades 's move to Akamai as another example of many seasoned executives taking chances on Internet startups in exchange for equity.

  • Reporting on this trend, the May 1999 issue of Forbes singled out Conrades, Richard Frank, the ex-chairman of Walt Disney Television who signed on to head, and James Cannavino, former CEO of Perot Systems who joined the small network security firm CyberSafe. The article posed this question: "Why are these elder statesmen, with little left to prove, now pulling twelve-hour days to run baby firms barely on their second round of venture funding?" While the story speculated that such moves were motivated largely by money, Conrades said he was genuinely thrilled to assume the role at Akamai.

  • "I was still full of energy, and I thought the people were just fantastic," said Conrades.

  • Conrades came on board just in time for Akamai 's second round of financing, led by Baker Communications Fund LP of New York. On May 7, Akamai secured $35 million total from Polaris and Battery Ventures, bringing the company's total venture funding raised to more than $43 million. Todd Dagres told the media it was more than the company needed, and a sizeable sum even for hot startup, which averaged about $20 million in a first round in the late 1990s. Yet Akamai was less than six months old, and its market value had already multiplied tenfold. The day the second round closed, Conrades issued a statement saying Akamai had sufficient capital and had no immediate plans for an additional round of equity or any private or public offering.

  • First, Conrades said he needed to step back and give order to what was the chaos of a startup company moving too fast to position itself clearly. "My job was not to understand the algorithms and technology but to build the framework of a business," Conrades observed. "We had to hire and establish a culture; it had to be codified for everyone." One of the first questions he posed to the small company was this: Akamai exists to do what? It seemed so simple, but, as Conrades still recalls, "there was a lot of uncertainty." With the help of everyone at Akamai, Conrades conceived of the company's list of guiding principles, which still stands true today. One of them, which he and Lewin agreed on, was never to dismiss an idea from any source without first giving it consideration. "There was a highly argumentative culture in place, which was either inspired by Danny's Israeli traits or the atmosphere at MIT," said Conrades. "That was good-we reveled in arguing assumptions. But when we did we made a point of listening to everyone." At IBM, Conrades concluded: "there was no ability to do this.

  • Some ideas, however, were not up for consideration, no matter how vehemently they were argued. Just after Conrades came on board, he asked Randall Kaplan-who was still working out of Los Angeles-to relocate to Boston. Kaplan pushed back. As the only employee based outside Boston, Kaplan argued that he had originally left his lucrative position at SunAmerica to join Akamai on two conditions: that he could remain on the West Coast, and that he would report to the company's CEO. Conrades offered Kaplan a second option: remain on the West Coast, but report to Earl Galleher, the VP of Sales. Kaplan refused, and decided to resign. His decision didn't go over well, particularly with Lewin. In the months leading up to Kaplan's departure, tensions between the two were beginning to mount. Although he acknowledged Lewin as one of the most brilliant and talented people he has ever met, Kaplan said he disliked him on a personal level for being what he called too "abrasive." Coworkers said Lewin came to dislike Kaplan, partly because he felt like Kaplan's heart wasn't in the company. Kaplan left the company with a very good deal for himself, one the Wall Street Journal referred to as "a boatload" of stock options-ones he could cash. "Even by the outrageous standards of Silicon Valley, Randall Kaplan is one lucky guy," noted the newspaper. "Unlike his ex-colleagues at Akamai-who have to wait around for four years-Mr. Kaplan already owns all of his shares." By the end of 1999, Kaplan's 2.4 million shares were worth approximately $633 million.

Pages 228 - 230 in OCR copy : (Epligue)

  • When they look back on those days, everyone at Akamai agrees they were some of the darkest of their lives. The loss was too searing, the irony too thick. The remainder of 2001, to most of them, was a blur.

  • They came to work and continued to carry out the company's new strategy. But they did it all weighted down by heartache. One of Lewin's coworkers said it was like running in snow-they kept moving, but every step felt labored. When they tried to look forward, they did so through the thick haze of grief. They saw nothing but the abyss left by Danny's absence.

  • But months passed, and with time, emotional strength regenerated enough for everyone at Akamai to realize that they had one last fight left in them, one that had to be waged in Lewin's honor. They knew it was going to be a fierce one. Although Akamai made it through the days and weeks immediately following the attacks, the company's financial problems were mounting. The attacks sent the U.S. economy further into the black, eating into Akamai's revenues and spawning widespread fears of a recession. Investors lost confidence in Akamai, fearing that Lewin's death meant death for the company.

  • Conrades recalled making rounds at the office to check in with staffers who "looked at me like deer in the headlights." As Conrades explained, "This was not the exuberant Akamai they were used to."

  • Conrades became well versed at pep talks. "I'd say our stock is coming down, but we're still about one big idea," he recalled, also saying, ''The technology still works. The business model works. Then I'd ask them: Do you still have bragging rights at the bar? The answer was yes, so I told them to have faith." He also told them, repeatedly, to do it for Danny.

  • Conrades made a pledge to Akamai 's board that he would not step down until the company achieved sustained profitability. But in the two

  • years following 9/11, Akamai was written off as another casualty of the dot-com boom. "Everybody had left us for dead," Leighton said. "We were gonna go broke. It was really that bad." The fall was precipitous. Once the stuff of legend, Akamai 's stock was delisted by the NASDAQ after it fell below $1. The company's customers were going out of business faster than the sales representatives could close accounts. More downsizing was necessary, including most of the sales force. Conrades, Sagan and Leighton began citing a metric they called "quarters to live," guessing how many more quarters Akamai could stay in business. {88} But they kept pushing. Every time they thought about Lewin, they became resolute in their pledge never to give up. "The people were really good people, the technology was good, and you know, we were relentless," said Leighton. "It was all about Danny. He had instilled such a culture through the powerfulness of his personality and the people that he vetted and selected that everyone wanted to double down and work extra hard to make Akamai successful. We wanted to make it happen for him, and it was very, very hard."

  • Fortunately, Lewin had left behind what Akamai called one "gift" for the company: EdgeSuite. Akamai positioned EdgeSuite as the ticket to its comeback, one that would take the company beyond content delivery to content assembly, presentation, and delivery. Akamai, Conrades said, used EdgeSuite to form a new strategy akin to what Federal Express accomplished when it moved beyond the shipment of packages into the additional services of packing and preparing them for shipment. With EdgeSuite as the centerpiece of a new business plan, Akamai offered customers technology that would accelerate the movement of dynamic content-things like stock quotes, airline prices, auction listings, and weather reports. Prior to EdgeSuite, A.kamai was delivering static pages, which were assembled before delivery, meaning everyone who clicked on them saw the same thing. Dynamic Web sites, in contrast, are put together on the spot and change frequently, often with every click-and EdgeSuite could do this very, very well.

2018 (March 27) - Boston Business Journal - "Former Akamai CEO George Conrades to retire as board chairman"

By Kelly J. O'Brien – Technology Reporter, Boston Business Journal

Mar 27, 2018, 11:31am EDT


Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM) chairman George Conrades will retire from the company's board as of June 1, the latest change at the Cambridge tech giant since activist hedge fund Elliott Management took a stake in the company last year.

Conrades will retire from the board on June 1, but will hand over the chairman role to another director, Frederic V. Salerno, effective immediately.

"I want to express my deep appreciation to George for his unwavering dedication and tremendous leadership over the past two decades," Akamai co-founder and CEO Tom Leightonsaid in a statement. "The impact of his work cannot be overstated, not just for the growth and customer-focused culture that he fostered at Akamai, but on the evolution of the internet as a whole."

Conrades joined Akamai's board in 1998, when it was still a tiny MIT startup. He took over the CEO role in 1999 and soon led the company through its initial public offering. Conrades handed over the CEO role to Paul Sagan in 2005.

Conrades' departure comes less than a month after the public got its first insight into the strategy that Elliott has in mind for Akamai. In early March, Akamai announced that it would add Tom Killalea, formerly the chief information security officer of Amazon, to its board of directors. The company also said it plans to add another board director, to be named later. Akamai didn't say whether the vacancy left by Conrades' departure would be filled by a third new director.

Akamai also said earlier this month it would work with Elliott to increase operating margins over the next several years.

The company has gone through several tumultuous years thanks to big shifts in the market for its internet content delivery technology. Akamai announced about 400 layoffs earlier this year, some of them connected to failed experiments within the internet content delivery division. At the same time, Akamai is doubling down on its fast-growing cybersecurity division.

WIPED - Conrades + Akamai in the year 1998 ...


Not disclosed on Akamai website -

ICANN on HousatonicITS - ICANN ( Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) )

2008 presentation - Conrades


41 views•Jan 19, 2017

Landmark Ventures

George Conrades, Chairman of Akamai; Board Member at Oracle, Harley-Davidson

Moderator: Izhar Shay, Managing General Partner – Canaan Partners Israel

Israel Dealmakers Summit 2016