Bell Labs’ presidents have helped shape and grow an organization of cross-disciplinary, industry-relevant research and a culture of innovation.

Marcus Weldon

President 2013–present

Marcus Weldon
Marcus Weldon

Marcus is considered one of the luminaries in the industry in terms of the clarity, depth and breadth of his vision for the future of networks. 

He has championed many technological disruptions in telecommunications networks, from the evolution and convergence of networks to “all IP,” the evolution of copper-based Access networks to support sophisticated interference cancellation (so-called vectoring), the evolution of wireless networks to highly-distributed networks of small cells and the emergence of virtualization and Software Defined Networking as profound industry changing forces that will drive a new integrated and federated network architecture and economics.

Marcus holds a BS in chemistry and computer science from King’s College, London, and a PhD in physical chemistry from Harvard University. In 1995 he joined the Physics Division at AT&T Bell Labs as a post-doctoral researcher, before becoming a Member of Technical Staff in the Optical Materials Division. He won a series of scientific and engineering society awards for his work on electronic and optical materials, and holds numerous patents related to that work. In 2005 he moved from research to hold a variety of CTO roles in different business divisions, before becoming the Corporate CTO with responsibility for defining the future direction of the industry and the associated evolution of the Alcatel-Lucent portfolio. He became the thirteenth President of Bell Labs in December 2013.

He is a member of the Executive Board of ATIS (Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions) and a member of the FCC Open Internet Advisory Committee.

He is one part of a happy Anglo-American union which has produced 5 progeny, ages ranging from 4 to 19. He lives in Summit, New Jersey, when not on a plane or train.


Gee Rittenhouse

President February 2013–November 2013

Gee Rittenhouse
Gee Rittenhouse

Gee Rittenhouse was the twelfth president of Bell Labs, the institution that he first joined in 1993 after earning a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

He began as a Member of Technical Staff in the wireless research department, where he would lead projects in MIMO System, network optimization, wireless IP networks and fourth generation wireless systems — eventually becoming the head of that department. Gee went on to assume other leadership posts in Bell Labs, becoming the Vice President of Technology Integration and then the Vice President of Research. He was the moving force behind the GreenTouch™ consortium, a research initiative to dramatically increase energy efficiency in the industry, and served as its first chairman. Gee then became the Chief Operating Officer of what is now Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Platforms Division.

Gee appeared on the list of the 2010 and 2011 Global Telecom Business Power 100 most influential executives in the telecoms industry. He is a Senior Member of IEEE. In 2007, he was named an IEEE Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer and he won the IEEE Communication Quality and Reliability (CQR) Chairman’s Award.


Jeong Kim

President 2005–2013

Jeong Kim
Jeong Kim

Jeong Kim joined Lucent Technologies in 1998 when it acquired Yurie Systems, Inc., the data communications company that he had founded in 1992 and had served as its chairman and CEO. At Lucent, Kim went on to assume the leadership of several of the company’s businesses, including its Broadband Carrier Networks and its Optical Network Group. 

Dr. Kim left Lucent in 2001 to join the University of Maryland faculty, with joint appointments in both the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In 2005, he was recruited to become the 11th president of Bell Labs, and following Lucent’s merger with Alcatel, served on the Management Committee and as the Executive Vice President of Strategy.

Dr. Kim holds a PhD in reliability engineering from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree in technical management and bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to his founding of Yurie Systems, he served as a nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, and then worked in computer design, satellite systems design and data communications.

Jeong Kim is the recipient of numerous awards including the Innovation Hall of Fame award from the University of Maryland; the Blumenthal Award from Johns Hopkins University; the ICAS Liberty Award; the American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award; the Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award; the KPMG Peat Marwick LLP High Tech Entrepreneur Award; the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; the Korea Society Van Fleet Award; and the Maryland High Technology Council Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Dr. Kim has also been inducted into the National Academy of Engineering.


Bill O’Shea

President 2001–2005

Bill O’Shea
Bill O’Shea

Bill O’Shea was the tenth president of Bell Labs, and Lucent Technologies' chief technology officer. He was responsible for research and development across all of Lucent.

Beginning his career with Bell Labs in 1972, O’Shea spent almost 30 years in the development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of information systems.

He was executive director of AT&T’s Information Technology division from 1985 to 1988, and vice president of Systems Marketing and Development for AT&T Computer Systems from 1988 to 1991. O’Shea then became the CEO of Lucent's Enterprise Networks Group, which was subsequently spun-off as Avaya, Inc. O’Shea holds a B.S. from Lowell Technological Institute and an M.S. from Northeastern University. He also is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School for Senior Executives.


Arun Netravali

President 1999–2001

Arun Netravali
Arun Netravali

As the ninth president of Bell Labs, Arun Netravali also served as Lucent's Chief Technology Officer and Chief Network Architect.

Dr. Netravali is regarded as a pioneer in the field of digital video technology and led Bell Labs high definition television (HDTV) research and development. He has authored more than 170 technical papers and co-authored three books. He holds more than 70 patents in the areas of computer networks, human interfaces to machines, picture processing and digital television. In 2001, he received the Padma Bhushan Award from the Indian government, the nation's third highest civilian honor.

Dr. Netravali is a member of Tau Beta Phi and Sigma Xi, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and AAAS and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. For his scientific achievements he has received numerous awards, including the Alexander Graham Bell Medal, the Computers & Communications Prize, the IEEE Frederik Philips Award, the National Association of Software and Services Companies in India Medal, and the IEEE Kilby Medal.

Dr. Netravali was an adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has taught graduate courses at City College (N.Y.), Columbia University and Rutgers University. He received his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India, and master’s and doctorate degrees from Rice University, all in electrical engineering. He holds an honorary doctorate from the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Dan Stanzione

President 1995–1999

Dan Stanzione
Dan Stanzione

Dan Stanzione joined Bell Labs in 1972 and went on to become its eighth president after a 22-year career as a software scientist and business manager.

Throughout his early career at Bell Labs he had a significant role in the development of signal processing and software technologies, and was part of the team that invented the first single-chip DSP in 1979. 

During the 1980s, Dr. Stanzione held a variety of positions in the planning and development of large software systems for business operations in telecommunications companies. He was appointed president of the Network Systems Business Unit within AT&T — the organization that became the core of Lucent Technologies. He went on to become the Chief Operating Officer of Lucent.

Dr. Stanzione is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE); has published papers on computer simulation, microprocessors and software design; and has been granted four patents. He received a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1972 from Clemson University.


John Mayo

President 1991–1995

John Mayo
John Mayo

After beginning his career at Bell Labs in 1955 working on TRADIC, one of the first transistorized digital computers, John Mayo went on to pioneer the use of transistors in what would become the T-1 Carrier System.

His other research was associated with the development of high-speed pulse code modulation systems, the Telstar satellite program, the development of electronic systems for ocean sonar and the development of the world’s first long-distance digital switching system. In 1991 he became the seventh president of Bell Labs, where he oversaw significant programs in fiber optics, wireless and video. 

Dr. Mayo was a recipient of the U.S. National Medal of Technology, the C&C Award from the NEC Corporation and the American Association of Engineering Societies Chair Award An IEEE Fellow, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1979.  He earned a PhD in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University.


Ian Ross

President 1979–1991

Ian Ross
Ian Ross

Ian Ross began his career at Bell Labs in 1952 when William Shockley hired him to conduct semiconductor research. 

He was actively involved with early research on the field-effect transistor and then with epitaxy, the process for growing specialized silicon crystals. Ross oversaw the research associated with the electronics for Telstar, the first communications satellite.  

In 1964, he was named managing director of Bellcomm, a Bell system unit formed solely to plan Apollo moon missions. Soon after returning to Bell Labs, he became its sixth president. Ross oversaw the reorganization of Bell Labs in the aftermath of the break-up of the Bell System in 1984.

Dr. Ross was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and Royal Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He attended Cambridge University, attaining a PhD in electrical engineering in 1952.


William Baker

President 1973–1979

William Baker
William Baker

An advisor to five U.S. presidents and member of several presidential committees and boards, William O. Baker was a prominent voice on scientific policies and issues. 

Following his attainment of a PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University, he joined Bell Labs in 1939. His research focused on polymers and the crystalline molecular structure of various materials, including plastics and natural rubber.

His work in the late 1930s and early 1940s helped perfect the process for manufacturing synthetic rubber. He served as the first vice president of research from 1955 until 1973, when he was appointed as president of Bell Labs.

Dr. Baker was a recipient of the U.S. Medal of Science and the Marconi Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award; he was appointed a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was the first recipient of what would subsequently be named the William Oliver Baker Award from the U.S. Intelligence and National Security Alliance. He received eleven patents for his research.

Dr. Baker served as a member of the U.S. President’s Science Advisory Committee, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the Federal Emergency Management Advisory Board.


James Fisk

President 1959–1973

James Fisk
James Fisk

James Fisk became Bell Labs’ fourth president in 1959. His foresight of the coming information revolution led to the acceleration of projects that ushered in the digitalization of communications.

Fisk earned a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1935. Prior to joining Bell Labs in 1939, he had taught physics at the University of North Carolina and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At Bell Labs he soon found himself leading several projects related to radar, including one directed towards the practical production and improvement of the magnetron that had been invented in Great Britain.

At the end of the World War II, Fisk was appointed assistant director of physical research in charge of electronics and solid-state research. He directed the researchers who two years later would invent the transistor. In 1947, he was recruited from Bell Labs to serve as the first director of research for the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and then as a professor in Applied Physics at Harvard University. Dr. Fisk returned to Bell Labs in 1949 as head of physical research.

Among his many achievements, Dr. Fisk was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, served on the U.S. President’s Science Advisory Committee, and in 1958 was appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower to head the U.S. delegation to the Geneva conference of experts on a nuclear test ban.


Mervin Kelly

President 1951–1959

Mervin Kelly
Mervin Kelly (left)

Upon earning his PhD in physics at the University of Chicago, Mervin Kelly began his Bell System career in 1917 working with vacuum tube technology. 

In the years that followed, perhaps more than anyone else, he crafted and refined the research model that would define Bell Labs. Kelly personally hired talent such as William Shockley and James Fisk. He pioneered the methods of industrial research, of “inventing ways to invent things.” His tool kit included cross-disciplinary teams of experts, close proximity between researchers and developers and even ways to design buildings to encourage collaborations. By 1926, he became director of research, in 1944 executive vice president, and in 1951 president of Bell Labs.


Oliver Buckley

President 1940–1951

Oliver Buckley
Oliver Buckley

As president of Bell Labs between 1940 and 1951, Oliver Buckley piloted Bell Labs through the frantic pace of research during the war years, and the rapid period of growth that followed. 

Buckley joined the Bell System after completing his PhD in physics at Cornell University in 1914. His early research there in undersea sound detection and signal analysis launched a three-decade quest for advances in submarine cables and a record of outstanding technical leadership. In 1933 he was appointed the director of research at Bell Labs, and in 1936 became its executive vice president. Buckley was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.


Frank Jewett

President 1925–1940

Group photograph of the National Defense Research Committee, circa 1940.
Group photograph of the National Defense Research Committee membership. approx. 1940. Front Row, left to right: Frank B. Jewett, Rear Adm. Julius A. Furer, James B. Conant, Richard C. Tolman. Back Row, left to right: Karl T. Compton, Roger Adams, Conway P. Coe, Irvin Stewart. Source: Scientists Against Time, James Phinney Baxter, 3rd. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1946.

Jewett was the ideal candidate for the role of first president of the newly created Bell Labs in 1925. Frank Jewett believed that the best science and technology result from bringing together and nurturing the best minds. He worked diligently to acquire an extraordinary collection of scientists and then provided them with the support to create the breakthroughs that defined the industry. 

Frank Jewett graduated from Throop Polytechnic Institute (later renamed California Institute of Technology,) then attended the University of Chicago where he was awarded a doctoral degree in physics. After teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the Mechanical Department of AT&T in 1904. Jewett’s involvement with electronic tubes and transatlantic radio communications, along with his experience in the Signal Corps during the First World War convinced him that industrial research was coming of age and moving beyond the “cut and try methods” that had prevailed in most other industrial labs. He saw a far closer linkage with university-based pure science — but also understood the differences.