Mark Leslie (entrepreneur)

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Mark Leslie, Stanford

Mark Leslie (born 1945) is an American entrepreneur, business executive, venture capitalist and educator. He is a lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he lectures on entrepreneurship, sales organization, and ethics.[1][2] He is also the managing director of Leslie Ventures, a private investment company.[3]

Leslie founded[4][5] Veritas Technologies and served as its CEO.[6][7] During his tenure as Chairman and CEO,[8] the company grew to be a top ten independent software company and achieved the distinction of becoming a Fortune 1000 company.[9][10]


Leslie graduated from New York University in 1966 with a degree in physics and mathematics,[11] in 1966 receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree.[12] In 1980 he attended the Harvard Business School program for management development.[13]


Leslie started his career at IBM as a systems engineer, working on operating systems RAX. In 1969 as an IBM employee, he designed and developed the first software hypervisor.[14] In 1972 he joined Data General as an account executive. He later managed regional DM operations.

In 1980, Leslie founded his first company, Synapse Computer Systems. He served as CEO of the company, which designed and built high availability, multiprocessor transaction processing systems.[15] The company was not successful, and in 1984 he was recruited as CEO of Rugged Digital Systems. He served until the company’s sale in 1989. During this time the company revenues rose from $2M in revenue to 32M and became profitable.[citation needed]

In 1989 Leslie moved from the board to CEO of Tolerant Systems, which later became Veritas Software. He held the position until 2000.[16] Under Leslie's direction the company pioneered development of the first commercially available journaling file system[17].


Leslie lectures at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His work is focused on founding, growing and scaling companies. His work in technology lifecyicles (Leslie's Law[18]), scaling of new products (Sales Learning Curve[19][20]), and go to market strategies (Compass[21]), which is based on Leslie's own experience as the founder and CEO[22] became the foundations of Stanford courses,[23] especially his marquee work "The Sales Learning Curve"[24]


In 2015 N.Y.U. opened doors to a 5,900-square-foot lab, financed by a multimillion-dollar gift from Leslie and his wife, Debra.[11]

Boards and honors[edit]

Mark is a current or former member of the boards of (or is an advisor to) a number of privately held high-technology corporations, including Context Relevant, Interana, StratoScale, Vera, Veritas, Yellowbrick, ZeroStack and Zerto.[25] He has served on approximately fifty public and private boards including Avaya, Big Switch, Brocade, Model N, NetApp, Nutanix, Pure Storage, SeaMicro, Skybox, Veritas and Webex.

Leslie serves on the NYU Board of Trustees,[26] the Board of Overseers for the NYU Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Board of Overseers of the Tandon School of Engineering and as a member of the Executive Board of the NYU Innovation Fund.[27] Leslie also serves on the Board of Trustees of Stanford Health Care (Stanford Hospital and Medical School)[28]

Personal life[edit]

Leslie grew up in Queens, New York in a lower-middle-class family. He married in 1969, and had two sons.[29]


  1. ^ "Mark Leslie". Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  2. ^ "The Arc of Company Life - and How to Prolong It". Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  3. ^ "Stocks". Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  4. ^ "Conversation with Mark Leslie, Founder, Veritas Software Corp. | Sandhill". Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  5. ^ Kepes, Ben. "With An A-Grade Founding Team And A-Grade Investors, Rubrik Launches". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  6. ^ "Conversation with Mark Leslie, Founder, Veritas Software Corp. | Sandhill". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  7. ^ Mark, Leslie (August 11, 2017). "Oral History of Mark Leslie, part 2". Computer History Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 11, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  8. ^ Santiago, William (2000-12-10). "PRIVATE SECTOR; How to Erase a Giant's Shadow". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  9. ^ "Registrars of Fortune 1000 Companies - Raw Data". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  10. ^ "VERITAS Software Rated in Top Ten of FORTUNE Magazine's '100 Fastest Growing Companies'; FORTUNE Selects Storage Management Software Leader as 8th Out of 100 Companies. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  11. ^ a b Singer, Natasha (2015-12-28). "Universities Race to Nurture Start-Up Founders of the Future". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  12. ^ Communications, NYU Web. "NYU Dedicates the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab". Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  13. ^ "VERITAS Software Chairman and CEO Joins VMware Board; VERITAS Makes Equity Investment". VMware. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  14. ^ Brock, David. "Oral History of Mark Leslie Interviewed by: David C. Brock Marguerite Gong Hancock" (PDF).
  15. ^ "The Saskatchewan Gazette" (PDF). Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  16. ^ Reuters (2000-11-18). "Shift at Veritas Software". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  17. ^ Veritas Software Corporation & Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 133, December 10, 2009, p. 14, retrieved 2018-02-28 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "Leslie's Law: When Small Meets Large, Small (Almost) Always Wins". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  19. ^ "The Sales Learning Curve". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  20. ^ Leslie, Mark; Holloway, Charles A. (2006). "The Sales Learning Curve". Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business School. 84 (7–8): 114–23, 189. PMID 16846194.
  21. ^ "Leslie's Compass: A Framework For Go-To-Market Strategy". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  22. ^ Cohan, Peter. "Stanford Lecturer On Apple's Innovation Drought". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  23. ^ "Mark Leslie: Putting the "We" in Leadership". Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  24. ^ "The Sales Learning Curve". Harvard Business Review. 2006-07-01. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  25. ^ "Veritas founding CEO Leslie on what Symantec did wrong — and why cash is oxygen". Biz Journals. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  26. ^ "NYU Board of Trustees". Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  27. ^ "Mark J Leslie". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  28. ^ "Leadership". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  29. ^ "The Mentor I Never Met". 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2018-01-11.