Oracle OpenWorld speakers are the makers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and shapers of the future. From a pioneering theoretical physicist to leading security thought leaders, Oracle OpenWorld brings you together with today’s foremost experts.
Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer, OracleThe Pass and Discover
Larry Ellison is executive chairman of Oracle Corporation and chief technology officer. He founded the company in 1977 and served as CEO until September 2014. He also races sailboats, flies planes, and plays tennis and guitar.
Chief Executive Officer, OracleThe Pass and Discover
Mark Hurd is chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation and a member of the company's board of directors. He joined Oracle in 2010, bringing more than 30 years of technology industry leadership, computer hardware expertise, and executive management experience to his role with the company. Hurd is also a member of the Baylor University Board of Regents.
Chief Executive Officer, OracleOracle Leaders Circle
Safra A. Catz is chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation and a member of the company's board of directors. She previously served as president of Oracle and has also served as the company's chief financial officer. Catz first served as Oracle's chief financial officer from 2005 to 2008, as executive vice president from 1999 to 2004, and as senior vice president from April to October 1999. She served on the board of directors for HSBC Holdings, one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations, from 2008 through 2015.
Chief Corporate Architect, OracleThe Pass and Discover
Edward Screven is chief corporate architect at Oracle. Reporting to Executive Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Larry Ellison, he drives technology and architecture decisions across all Oracle products to ensure that product development is consistent with Oracle's overall strategy. An Oracle veteran since 1986, he is responsible for Oracle's open-source businesses, including Linux, virtualization, and MySQL. Screven also leads company-wide strategic initiatives, including industry standards and security.
United States SenateOracle Leaders Circle
A forceful advocate for families, children, consumers, the environment, and her State of California, Barbara Boxer became a United States Senator in January 1993 after 10 years of service in the House of Representatives and six years on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. In January 2017, she stepped down after four terms in the Senate.
A national leader on environmental protection, Senator Boxer was the ranking member on the US Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).
Senator Boxer was also the ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. She was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she chaired the first subcommittee ever to focus on global women’s issues.
Senator Boxer was also a member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, serving as the Chief Deputy Whip from 2005 to 2016.
In 2012, as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, she led efforts to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that will save or create nearly 3 million jobs nationwide. In 2010, she spearheaded the effort in the Senate to extend the Highway Trust Fund to help protect 1 million jobs in transportation nationwide.
A leader in efforts to improve America’s infrastructure, she secured passage of the Water Resources Development Act, which authorized $1.3 billion for 54 flood control, ecosystem restoration and navigation projects in California. The bill had languished for six years until she led the fight to pass it and override a veto by President George W. Bush.
Senator Boxer has won numerous awards for her efforts to create a cleaner, healthier environment and for her dedicated work to address the threats of climate change. She has fought to remove arsenic from drinking water and authored an amendment ensuring that drinking water standards protect children. She has led efforts in Congress to protect California’s coast from offshore oil drilling and fought to end the unethical use of human subjects in pesticide testing by federal agencies.
A champion of quality public education, Senator Boxer wrote landmark legislation establishing the first-ever federal funding for afterschool programs. Her law now covers 1.6 million children. She continues to work to expand afterschool programs nationwide as chair of the Senate Afterschool Caucus.
To ensure that future generations of Californians will be able to enjoy our natural heritage, Senator Boxer has written laws designating more than 1 million acres of California wilderness. She wrote the Senate bill that elevated Pinnacles National Monument into America’s 59th National Park. She helped champion the creation of the Fort Ord National Monument and Cesar Chavez National Monument, as well as efforts to expand the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. She also authored the California Missions Preservation Act to protect and restore California’s 21 historic missions, and led the effort in the Senate to create the Manzanar National Historic Site.
To protect children from dangerous toys, Boxer authored a provision in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Commission Law requiring children’s products sold over the internet to list cautionary warnings in their advertisements. She has also led efforts to protect children from lead and other dangerous chemicals.
Senator Boxer is a champion of airline passengers’ rights, and her legislation with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to protect passengers from being stuck on planes for hours without food, water, or access to restrooms became the centerpiece of Department of Transportation rules that have reduced tarmac delays nationwide.
In 2010, she founded the Senate Military Family Caucus to help address the challenges faced by families of US service members who sacrifice so much for our country. She worked to establish the West Coast Combat Care Center in San Diego to ensure that severely wounded service members in the West have access to the highest quality care. She also helped create the Defense Task Force on Mental Health and secured millions in federal funding to improve medical care for severely burned soldiers.
Senator Boxer wrote the United States/Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which President Obama signed into law in July 2012, reaffirming our country’s special relationship with Israel and strengthening economic and security cooperation between the two nations.
She is the author of the Syria Accountability Act, which strengthened sanctions against Syria over the country’s support for terrorism. She also wrote a bipartisan measure to ensure that POWs who died in captivity would be eligible to receive the Purple Heart.
In response to the September 11th attacks, Senator Boxer wrote the law requiring that air marshals be on board high-risk flights and the law allowing airline pilots with special training to carry guns in the cockpit.
A strong supporter of the 1994 crime bill, she has worked to fund anti-gang programs, pass the Violence Against Women Law (VAWA), and the Community Policy “COPS” Program. Her bill to prevent the criminal use of personal information obtained through motor vehicle records was signed into law and upheld by the US Supreme Court.
A leading defender of a woman’s right to choose, Senator Boxer helped lead the floor fight for passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. In the Senate, she has fought back against repeated attacks on women’s health and a woman’s right to privacy.
A strong proponent of life-saving medical research, Senator Boxer wrote bipartisan legislation to accelerate America’s contribution to combat global HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
In 2010, she wrote a measure to end taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street by ensuring that financial firms—not taxpayers—will pay all the costs of liquidating failing Wall Street firms. She also cowrote legislation to increase lending to small businesses through community banks.
Senator Boxer has worked to revitalize the economy by supporting targeted tax cuts, a permanent Research and Development tax credit, accelerated depreciation of new business equipment, and tax credits for broadband investments focused on rural and underserved areas.
To help homeowners defend against foreclosure, Senator Boxer wrote a measure requiring that homeowners be alerted within 30 days if their lender sells or transfers their home mortgage loan. She wrote a bipartisan measure to ensure that banks cannot act as real estate brokers to prevent conflicts of interest. Additionally, in October 2011, the Obama Administration announced new efforts based on the bipartisan Boxer-Isakson Helping Responsible Homeowners Act to help homeowners who are current on their loans to refinance at historically low rates. These changes, along with others taken from the Menendez-Boxer Responsible Homeowners Refinancing Act, have helped more than 1 million borrowers save thousands of dollars a year on their mortgages.
Senator Barbara Boxer met her husband of more than 50 years, Stewart Boxer, at Brooklyn College. The couple moved to California in 1965 to raise their two children, Doug and Nicole. They have been blessed with four grandchildren—Zachary, Zain, Sawyer, and Reyna.
Physicist and String TheoristThe Pass and Discover
Professor Greene is world-renowned for his groundbreaking discoveries in the field of superstring theory, including the co-discovery of mirror symmetry and the discovery of spatial topology change. He is the director of Columbia's Center for Theoretical Physics.
Professor Greene is known to the public through his New York Times best selling books and numerous media appearances from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to Charlie Rose. The Washington Post called him "the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today." Professor Greene has hosted two NOVA mini-series based on his books, receiving the George Foster Peabody award for "The Elegant Universe with Brian Greene." Greene has had cameo roles in a number of Hollywood films including Frequency, Maze and The Last Mimzy and in 2008, with producer Tracy Day, co-founded the World Science Festival. He is the director of Columbia's Center for Theoretical Physics.
Chief Executive Officer, 1715 LabsThe Pass and Discover
Sophie Hackford is a futurist, synthesising explosive and interconnected technology and science breakthroughs from around the world. From satellite swarms to AI demonstrating intuition, we are becoming entangled with machines and will be surprised by the consequences. As part of her research, Hackford advises executive teams and boards of large companies on understanding new technologies defining the new economy.
Hackford is also founding CEO of a data and AI company, 1715 Labs, which she is currently working on out of the Astrophysics department at Oxford University. This follows a career building businesses for WIRED magazine, for Singularity University at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, and prior to California, the interdisciplinary Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, where Hackford raised more than US$120m of research investment.
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security AgencyThe Pass and Discover
Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency when the course of world events was changing at a rapid rate. As head of the country’s premier intelligence agencies, he was on the front lines of global change, the war on terrorism, and the growing cyber challenge. He understands the dangers, risks, and potential rewards of the political, economic, and security situations facing us. General Hayden dissects hot spots around the world, analyzing the tumultuous global environment, the impact of the recent US election, and what it all means for Americans and America’s interests. He speaks on the delicate balance between liberty and security in intelligence work, as well the potential benefits and dangers associated with the cyber domain. As the former head of two multibillion dollar enterprises, he can also address the challenges of managing complex organizations in times of stress and risk, and the need to develop effective internal and external communications.
In addition to leading CIA and NSA, General Hayden was the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country. In all of these jobs, he worked to put a human face on American intelligence, explaining to the American people the role of espionage in protecting both American security and American liberty. Hayden also served as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, and served in senior staff positions at the Pentagon, at US European Command at the National Security Council, and the US embassy in Bulgaria. He was also the deputy chief of staff for the United Nations Command and US forces in South Korea.
Hayden is the author of the 2018 best-selling book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies. He has been a frequent expert and commentator on major news outlets and in top publications, valued for his expertise on intelligence matters like cybersecurity, government surveillance, geopolitics, and more. He was featured in the HBO documentary Manhunt, which looked at espionage through the eyes of the insiders who led the secret war against Osama bin Laden, and in Showtime’s The Spymasters, a detailed look at the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hayden is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government. He is on the board of directors of Motorola Solutions and serves on a variety of other boards and consultancies. In 2013, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) awarded Hayden the 29th annual William Oliver Baker Award. General Hayden is also the first recipient of the Helms Award presented by the CIA Officers’ Memorial Foundation. In 2014 he was the inaugural Humanitas visiting professor in intelligence studies at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. His 2016 memoir, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, was a New York Times bestseller and was selected as one of the 100 most notable books of 2016.
Chief Executive Officer, SnipsThe Pass and Discover
Dr. Rand Hindi (@randhindi) is an entrepreneur and data scientist. He is the founder and CEO of Snips, the first AI voice platform for connected devices that offers "privacy by design." Hindi started coding at the age of 10, founded a social network at 14 and a web agency at 15 before getting into machine learning at 18, and then earned a PhD in bioinformatics at 21. He has been elected as a TR35 by the MIT Technology Review, named a "30 under 30" by Forbes, and is a member of the French Digital Council where he leads the AI and Jobs taskforce in the government's AI strategy. He holds a BSc in computer science and a PhD in bioinformatics from University College London, as well as graduate degrees from Singularity University in Silicon Valley and THNK in Amsterdam.
Producer and AuthorThe Pass
Nely Galán is a self-made media mogul. Dubbed the Tropical Tycoon by the New York Times Magazine, she was the first Latina president of entertainment for a US television network (Telemundo). She is an Emmy Award–winning producer of more than 700 episodes of television in Spanish and English, which she produced through her multimedia company Galan Entertainment. Galán is the founder of the Adelante Movement, which seeks to empower multicultural women economically and entrepreneurially. She is the author of The NY Times bestselling book Self Made, Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way (2016 Random House) about the revolution in women's entrepreneurship led by multicultural women in the US and emerging women around the world. Her book has been published in English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. Her next book, Don't Buy Shoes Buy Buildings, comes out in 2019.
Former Head of Department of Homeland SecurityThe Pass and Discover
Jeh Johnson is a partner with law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP. He served as Secretary of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017. Prior to that, Johnson was General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009–2012), General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force (1998–2001), and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York (1989–1991). In his current law practice, Secretary Johnson advises clients, including management teams and boards of directors, on crisis management, government and internal investigations, high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters, and legal aspects of cybersecurity and other security matters. Secretary Johnson is on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Since leaving government in January 2017, Secretary Johnson has been called upon to testify before Congress in cybersecurity matters three times, and is a regular commentator on national and homeland security on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and numerous other outlets. He has also lectured at Oxford, Westminster College, Harvard and Yale Law Schools, the National Defense University, the National War College, and all four US military academies. Secretary Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College (1979) and Columbia Law School (1982), and the recipient of nine honorary degrees.
Senior Vice President, North America Applications Consulting, OracleThe Pass and Oracle Leaders Circle
Beth Boettcher serves as Oracle's senior vice president, North America Applications Consulting. In this role, she sets and executes the strategy to ensure that Oracle Consulting meets the needs of customers, making them successful in adopting Oracle applications. Boettcher graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing. She also serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement.
President, Eurasia GroupThe Pass and Discover
Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm. He is also the president and founder of GZERO Media, a Eurasia Group company dedicated to helping a broad, global audience make sense of today’s leaderless world. Ian is a prolific thought leader and author, regularly expressing his views on political issues in public speeches, television appearances, and top publications, including Time magazine, where he is the foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large. Once dubbed the “rising guru” in the field of political risk by The Economist, he teaches classes on the discipline as a professor at New York University. His latest book, “Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism,” is a New York Times bestseller.
In 1998, Ian established Eurasia Group with just $25,000. Today, the company has offices in New York, Washington, San Francisco, London, Sao Paulo, Singapore, and Tokyo, as well as a network of experts and resources in 90 countries. As the firm’s president and most active public voice, Ian advises leading executives, money managers, diplomats, and heads of state.
Ian is credited with bringing the craft of political risk to financial markets—he created Wall Street’s first global political risk index (GPRI)—and for establishing political risk as an academic discipline. His definition of emerging markets—“those countries where politics matters at least as much as economics for market outcomes”—has become an industry standard. “G-Zero,” his term for a global power vacuum in which no country is willing and able to set the international agenda, is widely accepted by policymakers and thought leaders.
In 2007, Ian was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, where he is the founding chairman of the Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk. He is the Harold J. Newman Distinguished Fellow in Geopolitics at the Asia Society Policy Institute and serves on the President’s Council of the Near East Foundation, the Leadership Council for Concordia, and the Board of Trustees of Intelligence Squared. Ian, who earned a doctorate in political science from Stanford University in 1994 and was the youngest-ever national fellow at the Hoover Institution, has published ten books including the national bestsellers “Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World”, “The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?”, and “Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World.”
Chief Executive Officer, GlitchThe Pass and Discover
Anil Dash is an entrepreneur, activist, and writer recognized as one of the most prominent voices advocating for a more humane, inclusive, and ethical technology industry. He is the CEO of Glitch, the friendly community where millions of creators collaborate on making and discovering apps, bots, art, and anything else they can imagine.
Dash was an advisor to the Obama White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, and today advises major startups and nonprofits including Medium, DonorsChoose,and Project Include. He also serves as a board member for companies includingStack Overflow, the world's largest community for computer programmers, and nonprofits including the Data & Society Research Institute, which examines the impact of tech on society and culture; and the Lower East Side Girls Club, which serves girls and families in need in New York City.
Described as a “blogging pioneer” by the New Yorker, Dash has a unique presence on social media, where he’s been maintaining his Webby-recognized personal website since 1999, with citations in sources ranging from the New York Times to the BBC to TMZ to hundreds of academic papers. As a writer and artist, Dash has been a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Wired, has had his works exhibited in the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and collaborated with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on one of the most popular Spotify playlists of 2018. In 2013, Time named @anildashone of the best accounts on Twitter, and he is the only person ever retweeted by both Bill Gates and Prince, a succinct summarization of Dash’s interests. Dash has addressed events ranging from the Aspen Ideas Festival to SXSW, lectured at universities ranging from Harvard to NYU to Berkeley, made TV appearances on MSNBC and CNN, and guested on dozens of high-profile podcasts.
Dash is based in New York City, where he lives with his wife Alaina Browne and their son Malcolm. Dash has never played a round of golf, drank a cup of coffee, or graduated from college.
Global Managing Principal, Consulting, DeloitteOracle Leaders Circle
Jason Girzadas leads Deloitte's Global Consulting business and is a member of the Deloitte Global Executive. He has more than two decades of experience in client management and practice leadership roles, including roles on the US Consulting Executive Committee, working across the Deloitte US businesses, and globally. As the Clients and Markets leader for US Consulting, Girzadas was responsible for driving client, sales, brand, and marketing excellence. He also oversaw the development and launch of a thought leadership program that continues to provide a platform for Deloitte to communicate its position on critical issues including the future of mobility, digital enterprise, digital supply chain/IoT, the cloud, cognitive technologies, and others. As the former life sciences and healthcare industry leader for US Consulting, Girzadas worked with numerous top healthcare organizations, helping them successfully navigate the challenge of large-scale strategic and technology- driven change. In each of his roles, Girzadas delivers impact through the combination of his CXO client service skills, team-building experiences, strategic insights, and talent development background.
Senior Advisor and Geopolitical Expert, Eurasia GroupOracle Leaders Circle
Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of 18 books on foreign affairs and travel, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, a prolific essayist for numerous publications, and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where his work has appeared for three decades. Foreign Policy magazine twice named him one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers.
In the 1980s, Kaplan was the first US writer to warn in print about a future war in the Balkans. And in the 1990s, his article “The Coming Anarchy,” arguing that population rise, ethnic and sectarian strife, disease, urbanization, and resource depletion are undermining the political fabric of the planet, was hotly debated in foreign-language translations around the world. Other positions held by Kaplan have included chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor; consultant to the US Army’s Special Forces Regiment, the Air Force, and the Marines; and member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board.
He has lectured for military war colleges, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, major universities, and global business forums. He has briefed kings, presidents, secretaries of state, and defense secretaries, and reported from more than 100 countries. Kaplan, a graduate of the University of Connecticut, was given the Distinguished Alumni Award by his alma mater. He received the Benjamin Franklin Public Service Award by the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
Vice Chair and Chief Clients Officer, PwCOracle Leaders Circle
Amity Millhiser is PwC’s vice chair and chief clients officer, serving as the firm’s leading client adviser. From her base in Silicon Valley, Millhiser brings perspectives on digital and emerging technologies to clients as well as experience leading transformations across industries and sectors. Millhiser is a thought leader on diversity in business and contributed to PwC's cofounding of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion effort.
Millhiser has served in a range of capacities for PwC. She founded the firm’s Switzerland-based Transaction Services practice and the Center of Excellence for US/European cross-border deals, and she led teams as the market managing partner for PwC’s Silicon Valley practice. She has deep transaction experience that includes acquisitions, divestitures, and IPOs. Prior to her role as chief clients officer, Millhiser served as the firm's US markets and sectors leader where she drove market growth and innovation efforts across geographies and industries.
Millhiser is a vocal advocate for women in leadership and was named one of the California Diversity Council’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology in 2015 and one of Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence in 2012. She is a member of the Catalyst Board of Advisors and serves on a number of boards focused on youth education.
Vice President, Oracle Global Startup EcosystemThe Pass
Diego Pantoja-Navajas serves as Oracle's vice president of global operations, overseeing Oracle’s startup program for entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. An entrepreneur at his core, Pantoja-Navajas came to Oracle in December 2016 when his startup, LogFire, was acquired by Oracle. He started and built LogFire into a category leader over 10 years, enduring the ups and downs of a growing startup and ultimately positioning his company for acquisition by an industry giant. Since the LogFire acquisition, he has served as vice president of WMS development, part of Oracle's supply chain management cloud solution. For the global startup program, he brings extensive business experience and entrepreneurial knowhow, plus a spirit of collaboration and teamwork, which is helping the program build off its many successes and pave the way for future growth.
Leader, People and Change Practice, KPMGThe Pass
Claudia Saran leads the US People and Change practice within KPMG Advisory. Saran has more than 25 years’ experience leading client engagements in the areas of organizational and cultural transformation, talent management, change management, organization design, and HR strategy optimization. She works side-by-side with business leaders across industries to advance their people agenda. Saran received a BA in finance from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She currently serves on KPMG's Women's Advisory Board.
Former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence ServiceThe Pass
Sir John Scarlett served as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) from 2004 to 2009. Sir John joined the SIS in 1971 and over the next 20 years served in Nairobi, Paris and twice in Moscow as well as several assignments in London covering Africa, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. His second time in Moscow (1991-1994) coincided with the end of the USSR and the early years of the Russian Federation. In early September 2001, he retired from SIS on appointment as Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in the Cabinet Office.
On the 1st of August 2004, Sir John rejoined SIS as its Chief. As Head of the Service, he was responsible for the management of resources, the conduct of operations, and advice to the Government during a period of significant global uncertainty and risk from international terrorism. Sir John retired on 31 October 2009 after 38 years in Government Service.
Sir John was born in 1948 in London and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where, in 1970, he was awarded First Class Honours in Modern History. Since leaving SIS, he has become a Senior Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Sir John is Chairman of the Strategy Advisory Council at Statoil ASA. He holds Advisor roles at Swiss Re and Dataminr. He is Chairman of SC Strategy Ltd. He is a Director of Times Newspaper Holdings, Vice Chairman at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Co-Chair of the Global Advisory Council at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC. He is Chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust. Other Trusteeships include the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College and Friends of the French Institute in the United Kingdom.
Sir John was appointed a member of the State Honours Committee by the Cabinet Office in 2017.
Sir John was appointed OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in 1987, CMG (Commander of St Michael and St George) in 2001, KCMG in 2007 and Officier of the Legion D’Honneur in 2011.
President and Chief Operating Officer, Golden State WarriorsThe Pass
One of the most respected business executives in the NBA and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, Rick Welts has more than 40 years of experience in the league and has spent the last seven seasons as president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors. In this role, reporting to owner and CEO Joe Lacob and owner Peter Guber, Welts oversees all business-related operations for the Warriors, including the development of the Chase Center, a privately financed sports and entertainment center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood that broke ground in January 2017. He owns the rare distinction of being part of championship teams in the NBA (4), WNBA (2), and NBA G League (1).
Under Welts’ direction, the organization has established several franchise benchmarks from a business standpoint in recent years, as the Warriors brand continues to grow in stature following four consecutive NBA Finals appearances and three NBA championships in 2015, 2017, and 2018. The organization has won numerous awards across all facets of the business in recent years, including the Warriors being named “Sports Team of the Year” across all sports in both 2014 and 2016 by the Sports Business Journal/Daily. The Warriors are the first professional team to win this coveted award twice. Welts’ impressive résumé includes myriad different capacities spanning virtually every level of an NBA operation. Prior to joining the Warriors in October 2011, he spent nine years as president of the Phoenix Suns.
Welts’ responsibilities in Phoenix included the supervision of all business operations for the Suns, while also overseeing the team’s interest in the management of the US Airways Center and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Prior to joining the Suns, Welts enjoyed a successful 17-year (1982–1999) stint at the NBA league office in New York, where he ascended through the ranks to eventually become the league’s third-in-command as the executive vice president, chief marketing officer, and president of NBA Properties. In addition to his overall contributions to the revitalization of the league's image and popularity, his notable accomplishments at the NBA include the creation of NBA All-Star Weekend in 1984 and the marketing program for USA Basketball for the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team.” Along with Val Ackerman, Welts was named “Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek in 1998 for his role in launching the WNBA. During his time at the NBA office, he supervised a wide-range of departments, including corporate sponsorship and media sales, consumer products, international business activities, media relations, community relations, team services, special events, and creative services. Welts also played a prominent role in the organization of preseason games in international cities and the eventual opening of international NBA offices in Australia, Asia, Europe, Mexico, and Canada. A native of Seattle, Washington, Welts began his NBA career in 1969 at the age of 16, as a ball boy with the Seattle SuperSonics. He spent 10 years with his hometown team serving a number of roles including as the team’s director of public relations during back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals (1978 and 1979) and the SuperSonics’ lone NBA Championship in 1979. In 2006, he was the recipient of the annual Splaver/McHugh “Tribute to Excellence Award,” which is given annually by the NBA Public Relations Directors’ Association to a current or former member of the NBA PR family who has demonstrated an outstanding level of performance and service during their NBA career.
After leaving the SuperSonics, the University of Washington graduate spent the following three years (1980–1982) at Bob Walsh & Associates, a sports marketing firm in the Seattle area. His non-NBA résumé also includes serving as president of Fox Sports Enterprises (1999–2000). In May of 2011, in a front-page story in the New York Times, Welts became the highest-ranking executive in men’s professional team sports to publicly acknowledge that he is gay. He was presented with a United States Tennis Association 2011 ICON Award at the US Open in New York City, an award that recognizes and celebrates those who have had a positive impact on diversity and inclusion in the sports industry and society. Also in 2011, he was honored with GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) Respect Award, which honors those who have made a difference in the areas of diversity and inclusion. In September 2014, he was honored by GLAAD, the nation’s LGBT media advocacy organization, with the Davidson/Valentini Award, which is presented to an LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community. He also served as the celebrity Grand Marshall of San Francisco’s Pride Parade in 2015. In 2016 he was honored by the Anti-Defamation League with its “Torch of Liberty Award.” A member of Delta Chi fraternity while attending the University of Washington, in 2015 he was named “Delta Chi of the Year” by the national organization. Welts currently serves as a board member of the Bay Area Council and the Warriors Community Foundation. He is a member the NBA’s Team Advisory Committee and Global Inclusion Council.