Michael A. Brown

Berklee Trustee; Director, Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), U.S. Department of Defense

Michael A. Brown is the director of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) at the U.S. Department of Defense. DIU, established in 2015, fields leading-edge capability to the military using commercial technologies faster and more cost-effectively than traditional Pentagon acquisition methods. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, and at the Pentagon, DIU’s mission is to access and stimulate the national security innovation base, a critical element of the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

Previously, Brown served two years (2016–2018) as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Defense Department. He is the coauthor of a Pentagon study on China’s participation in the U.S. venture ecosystem, a catalyst for the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) providing expanded jurisdiction to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). Additionally, he led the initiative for a new Defense Department–sponsored investment vehicle, National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC), to fund dual-use hardware technology companies. Both FIRRMA and NSIC were passed by substantial majorities in both the House and Senate and signed into law by the President in August 2018.

Through August of 2016, Brown was the CEO of Symantec Corporation, the global leader in cybersecurity and the world’s tenth largest software company, with revenues of $4 billion and more than 10,000 employees worldwide. Brown served as a member of Symantec’s board since its merger with Veritas in 2005. During his tenure as CEO (2014–2016), Brown led a turnaround developing a strategy focusing on its security business, sold its Veritas storage software business, hired a new executive leadership team, and improved operating margins 300 basis points. Additionally, he led the articulation of a new company culture fostering innovation.

Brown is the former chairman and CEO of Quantum Corporation (1995–2003), a leader in the computer storage industry. During his time as CEO, the company achieved record revenues of $6 billion as the world’s leader in disk drives for personal computers and the world’s largest tape drive business. He joined Quantum in 1984 and served on its board from 1995 until 2014.

After leaving Quantum, Brown served as chairman of EqualLogic, a storage array company. Dell acquired EqualLogic in 2008 for $1.4 billion, the largest all-cash deal for a venture-backed company up to that time.

He has been a member of Berklee's Board of Trustees since 2013 and previously served on the President’s Advisory Council.

In 2019, Brown became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was honored as one of Fedscoop’s Best Bosses in Federal IT. He has been a speaker on panels at the 2018 and 2019 Reagan National Defense Forum, the Trilateral Commission, the West Coast meeting of the Council of Foreign Relations, the inaugural forum of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University, and a guest lecturer at Stanford University’s course on national security and technology.

Brown received his B.A. degree in economics from Harvard University in 1980 and his M.B.A. from Stanford University in 1984. He is married, has two children and lives in Palo Alto, California.