2012 Commencement Speaker

Greg BrownGreg Brown

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Recipient

Rutgers University takes great pride in honoring one of its most loyal and distinguished alumni and in welcoming Greg Brown as the 2012 University Commencement speaker.

A native son and chairman and chief executive officer of Motorola Solutions, Greg Brown is a visionary business leader respected for his keen management insight, analytical ability, and pragmatism, all of which have contributed to his career accomplishments and the success of his employers. He earned the top job at Motorola in 2008 and 90 days into his tenure he launched a bold plan to transform the $30 billion company, which ultimately led to the separation of the consumer-focused mobile device business from the parent company in 2011.  Today, the remaining company, Motorola Solutions, is a global leader in mission critical public safety and enterprise communications equipment. His business acumen was recognized in 2011, when Brown was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Management Advisory Board and the Skills for America's Future Board, where he now dedicates his talents in service to the country.

Brown’s story began in North Brunswick and Highland Park, New Jersey, where he was raised. The youngest of five children, he considered himself “average” while growing up, and gained an interest in technology after seeing his older brothers take jobs at AT&T and IBM. When it came time for college, he enrolled in Rutgers’ Livingston College and graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Brown often says that it is not what happens to you in life, but rather how you handle it that matters. He began to form that approach at Rutgers after taking a class with Robert Guttmann, an economics professor whom he greatly admired and found to be an inspiration. By sophomore year, Brown was interning at IBM. After graduation and over the next 20-plus years, Brown went on to hold a number of tech-related sales and executive management positions where he helped bolster growth and profitability in part by remembering that the manner in which he responded to challenges mattered most.

Brown truly demonstrated his ability to rise to these challenges when in 2003, he joined Motorola as president of the division that handles government and public-safety communications solutions. After leading the company’s $3.9 billion acquisition of tech firm Symbol Technologies, he was elected to the board of directors in 2007 and named chief executive officer the following year. He kept the multibillion dollar company afloat when it faced some of its toughest times and successfully pulled it through a drastic overhaul of its business. This, coupled with his inspirational and hands-on management style, was instrumental in improving the morale of 60,000 employees worldwide.

Prior to joining Motorola, he was chairman and chief executive officer of Micromuse Inc., a publicly traded network-management software company. Before that, he served as president of Ameritech Custom Business Services and Ameritech New Media Inc., and held a variety of sales and marketing positions with AT&T. In addition to his responsibilities at Motorola, Brown is active in a variety of civic and business organizations. He is on the executive committee of the U.S.-China Business Council and serves as a member of the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, and the Technology CEO Council. A resident of Illinois, he serves in his local community as a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, as vice chair of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, and on the board of directors of both Northwestern Memorial Hospital and World Business Chicago, and also has helped recruit corporations to the city.  
Under Brown’s leadership, Motorola Solutions has continued to devote significant resources to support the communities where it operates. In particular, the Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses its funding on public safety, disaster relief, employee programs, and education, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math programming. Brown is an active supporter of cancer research, serving as a member of the American Cancer Society Discovery Ball Board of Ambassadors since 2008 and as a vice chair of the Illinois Chapter of CEOs Against Cancer.

Brown also is a proud supporter of Rutgers University. He contributed funds toward the new recruiting pavilion and welcome center at High Point Solutions Stadium, and supports the Rutgers Psychological Clinic at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. He is a member of both Rutgers University’s Board of Trustees and Rutgers’ Board of Overseers. He served as co-master of ceremonies at the kickoff dinner for the university’s ongoing, $1 billion Our Rutgers, Our Future capital campaign and recently served as chair of Rutgers’ presidential search committee. In 2010, he was inducted into Rutgers’ Hall of Distinguished Alumni. As an alumnus, he said, “I’m fiercely proud of Rutgers. It’s a wonderful university with so many positive attributes: tradition, pride, quality, diversity, and opportunity. But what makes Rutgers so special is the people.”