Scott McNealy
McNealy in 2005
Born (1954-11-13) November 13, 1954 (age 68)
Known forCEO and co-founder,
Sun Microsystems[1]
SpouseSusan McNealy (m. 1994)
ChildrenMaverick, Colt, Dakota, Scout
WebsiteSun Microsystems Scott McNealy bio

Scott McNealy (born November 13, 1954) is an American businessman. He is most famous for co-founding the computer technology company Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Bill Joy, and Andy Bechtolsheim. In 2004, while still at Sun, McNealy founded Curriki,[1] a free online education service. In 2011, he co-founded Wayin, a social intelligence and visualization company based in Denver.[2] McNealy stepped down from his position as CEO of Wayin in 2016.[3]


Unlike most people who become involved in high technology industries, McNealy did not come from the world of amateur programmers or hardware hackers; 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. McNealy has self-deprecatingly referred to himself as a "golf major" rather than a computer scientist.[4][5]

McNealy started out working at American Motors, where his father was vice chairman and vice president of marketing.[6] He later became manufacturing director at Onyx Systems, a vendor of microprocessor-based Unix systems.[7][8][5]

In 1982, he was approached by fellow Stanford alumnus Vinod Khosla to help provide the necessary organizational and business leadership for Sun Microsystems. Sun, 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. The name "Sun" was derived from co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim's original Stanford University Network (SUN) computer project, the SUN workstation.[8]

In 1984, McNealy took over the CEO role from Khosla, who ultimately would 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 I. Schwartz. McNealy is one of the few CEOs of a major corporation to have had a tenure of over twenty years.

According to the book The Decline and Fall of Nokia, Scott McNealy was the "dream candidate" to become CEO of Nokia in 2010.[9] However, McNealy said he was not offered the job.[10]

In 2017, Scott joined the golf app startup 18Birdies as advisor and equity partner.[11]

In early 2018, he joined the Redis Labs Advisory Board.[12]


In 2010, the same year Oracle Corporation purchased Sun, McNealy co-founded the social media intelligence company Wayin.[13] The new venture was not widely covered in the media—the day he invited reporters to his home to launch Wayin, was the same day Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died.[3] Their product is an application store for brands to self-publish interactive advertising campaigns using reusable digital assets, removing the bulk of cost involved in delivering multi-channel digital advertising.[14]

Wayin sought out and merged with EngageSciences in 2016, to acquire senior staff and diversify their market. In May of that year, McNealy stepped down as CEO and EngageSciences head Richard Jones became CEO of the combined company.[3] In July 2019, Wayin was acquired by Cheetah Digital.[15]

Personal life

McNealy was born in Columbus, Indiana. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father, Raymond William McNealy Jr. (1927–2014), was vice chairman of the American Motors Corporation. He graduated from Cranbrook School; he later supported the campaign of fellow Cranbrook alumnus and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Most of his work experience prior to joining Sun was in automotive manufacturing.[7][8]

He is married to Susan McNealy; they live in Nevada, and have 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.[4][16]

He is the commissioner of the Alternative Golf Association (known as "Flogton").[17]

Positions at Sun


In 1987, McNealy was named an Award Recipient of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Northern California Region.[19]


In 1999, McNealy said, "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."[20] Writer Stephen 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."[21] The authors of Privacy in the 21st Century admitted, "While a shocking statement, there is an element of truth in it."[22]

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."[23]

McNealy is a self-proclaimed "raging libertarian", although he often supports and endorses the Republican Party.[24] He makes regular appearances on the Fox Business Channel to discuss libertarian business issues.[25] In 2017, McNealy praised the 45th U.S. President, Donald Trump, for his free-market economic policies.[26] On September 17, 2019, McNealy hosted a fundraiser for Donald Trump's re-election campaign.[27]

McNealy was a member of the 1776 Commission. Created by President Donald Trump, it released a report two days before the end of that administration.


  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 May 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Ina Fried (May 4, 2016). "Scott McNealy is stepping down from the CEO job you didn't know he had". Recode. Retrieved December 4, 2017. McNealy officially launched Wayin back in October 2011, inviting reporters to his house to talk about the service on the evening of Oct. 5 — which turned out to be the same day that Apple CEO Steve Jobs died.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ a b High, Peter. "Former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy's New Focus On Social Media Innovation". Forbes. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  6. ^ "Like father, like Sun". March 6, 2006. Archived from the original on August 12, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Scott McNealy and Sun Microsystems", Center for Management Research, Case Code LDEN039, 2006 [1]
  8. ^ 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 March 17, 2008. They called their box the SUN – for Stanford University Network – workstation. The investor was intrigued; within a month, Sun Microsystems was born.
  9. ^ Cord, David (2014). The Decline and Fall of Nokia. Schildts & Söderströms. pp. 190–192. ISBN 978-951-52-3320-2.
  10. ^ McNealy, Scott. "Not likely..." Twitter. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  11. ^ Erik Matuszewski (September 12, 2017). "18Birdies Welcomes Sun Microsystems Co-Founder McNealy As Advisor, Equity Partner For Golf App". Forbes.
  12. ^ Redis Labs (January 9, 2018). "Technology Pioneer Scott McNealy Joins Redis Labs Advisory Board". PRNewswire.
  13. ^ Peter High (May 16, 2016). "Former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy's New Focus On Social Media Innovation". Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2017. In 2010, he co-founded Wayin, a social intelligence company that integrates social content into new experiences for consumers and delivers greater value and control for brands.
  14. ^ Bruce Rogers (April 4, 2017). "Scott McNealy Builds Wayin To Make $1 Trillion Global Marketing Spend More Efficient". Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2017. The company positions itself as a self-service platform that enables some of the world's biggest brands and publishers to create authentic, interactive campaign experiences that engage and activate consumers across all digital channels. Its digital asset creation tools offer drag and drop templates to easily create just about any marketing materials.
  15. ^ "Cheetah Digital Announces Acquisition of Wayin" (Press release). Business Wire. July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "On the Record: Scott McNealy". San Francisco Chronicle. September 14, 2003.
  17. ^ Glier, Ray (May 8, 2011). "Turning Golf Tradition on Its Head". The New York Times. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "DEF 14A (Proxy Statement)". SEC EDGAR Archives. Sun Microsystems, Inc. October 28, 2009. p. 49.
  19. ^ "InstallShield® Software Corporation Co-Founder And CEO Named National Finalist In Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program". March 11, 2019.
  20. ^ Sprenger, Polly. "Sun on Privacy: 'Get Over It'". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  21. ^ Manes, Stephen (April 18, 2000). "Private Lives? Not Ours!". PC World. 18 (6): 312. ISSN 0737-8939. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Vance, Ashlee (January 12, 2006). "Sun and Apple almost merged three times – Bill Joy". The Register.
  24. ^ "On the Record: Scott McNealy". The San Francisco Chronicle. September 14, 2003. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  25. ^ "Sun Microsystems' McNealy on Economy". Fox Business.
  26. ^ "Why 'Raging Capitalist' Scott McNealy is Excited About Trump". Fox Business. January 26, 2017. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  27. ^ Setty, Ganesh (September 17, 2019). "Trump held fundraiser at former Sun CEO Scott McNealy's Silicon Valley house on Tuesday". CNBC. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
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Business positions Preceded byVinod Khosla CEO of Sun Microsystems 1984–2006 Succeeded byJonathan Schwartz Preceded byOwen Brown President of Sun Microsystems 1984–19992002–2004 Succeeded byEdward Zander Preceded byEdward Zander Succeeded byJonathan Schwartz Preceded byVinod Khosla Chairman of Sun Microsystems 1984–2010 Company acquired by Oracle Corporation