Tony Bates

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Tony Bates
Anthony J. Bates

United Kingdom
OccupationCEO of Genesys
Spouse(s)Cori Bates

Anthony J. Bates (born 29 April 1967) is a British born business leader and on 6 May 2019 he was appointed to CEO of Genesys.[citation needed] Bates is the former CEO of Growth at Social Capital.[1] Previously, he held a number of technology based business roles including the former president of GoPro,[2] and the former [3] executive vice president of Microsoft responsible for business development, strategy and evangelism and former CEO of Skype.

Bates, a university dropout, began his career in network operations and internet infrastructure. In the past, he has served on the boards of YouTube, TokBox, BubbleMotion, LoveFilm, SiriusXM, GoPro. As of August 2018, he serves on the boards of eBay and VMware. He first applied his experience to large-scale consumer products and services following Cisco's acquisition of the Scientific Atlanta set-top box business, and subsequently as Chief Executive Officer of Skype Technologies.[4] He published a number of IETF RFCs [5] and holds a number of patents.[6] On 6 May 2019 Bates was appointed to CEO of Genesys.

Early life and career[edit]

Bates was born in 1967 in West London. He came from humble beginnings, raised in Teddington by his hairdresser mother and stepfather who worked as a builder. Like many Silicon Valley CEOs before him, he never finished university. At 19, he dropped out of his mechanical engineering program at South Bank Polytechnic.[7]

Bates’ first job was at the University of London as a network operator in the computer center where he worked from 1986 to 1992.[7] During his time at the university, his commute was one hour by train each way. He capitalized on this commute time by teaching himself the C programming language and by learning UNIX through DEC manuals.[8] Bates was fortunate to be involved in the early days of the Internet running the Arpanet gateways between the U.S. and the U.K. Bates helped transition the U.K. academic network JANET from the academic Coloured Book protocols to TCP/IP, helping to create the JANET IP Service (JIPS).[9]

He left the University of London Computer Centre in 1992 to work in Amsterdam on a Réseaux Associés pour la Recherche Européenne (RARE)-funded project as part of the RIPE NCC, an organization responsible for establishing the Europe IP registry and a number of operational standards for European networking.[7] In 1994, he moved to Virginia, which at the time was considered the nexus of the Internet.[8] He worked on the strategy and operation for the Internet MCI IP backbone.


Bates joined Cisco in 1996. He was employed at Cisco for more than 14 years and rose to senior vice president and general manager, heading up the enterprise, commercial and small business divisions.[7]

Although his primary function at Cisco remained dedicated to infrastructure, other opportunities arose that sparked his interest. Projects such as Cisco's integration with Scientific Atlanta gave him a glimpse of the user side of the Internet.[8]


In a 2011 interview with Voice on the Web, Bates admitted that one of his personal goals was to become the CEO of a company before age 45. According to the story, he wrote three names on a piece of paper and Skype was one of them. Bates said that once he joined as CEO, a key engineer in Estonia asked him how long he had been using Skype. He said in 2004, and when they ran the details of his Skype ID to verify, the engineer admitted that Bates started using Skype before he had.[8]

Bates was hired as CEO of Skype in October 2010. When Bates joined Skype, only 6.5 percent of its users paid to make calls from their computers to landline or mobile devices. He was looking for ways to monetize Skype and envisioned extending Skype beyond recreational and video calling. "The world previously looked very much like there was a business world and a consumer world," Bates said in 2010. "They’re blurring very quickly."[10]

In 2010, Bates made plans to offer paid premium phone and video services such as group videoconferencing, call waiting and answering services.


By the time Microsoft bought Skype, Bates had grown the monthly Skype user base to 170 million connected users per month. When Skype was officially acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion in May 2011, Bates announced that he wanted to eventually reach 1 billion connected users on Skype.[11]

As the president of the Skype Division, Bates focussed on extending Skype reach across key Microsoft products like Internet Explorer (August 2011),[12] Bing (Skype Bing Reward and Bing Bar in February 2012),[13] Windows 8 (October 2012),[14] Windows Phone (November 2012),[15] Outlook (January 2013),[16] and most recently upgrading Windows Live Messenger with Skype.[17] Continuing Bates’ mission to blur the lines between consumer and business communication which he branded "B2X" at the Lync 2013 Conference, he announced that Lync, Microsoft's business communication solution, would be connected to Skype, and announced that Skype/Lync connectivity was expected by the end of June 2013.[4] Microsoft also announced plans for video calling in and announced a preview version in April 2013.[18] Another anticipated Skype/Microsoft collaboration is with Xbox, which Bates called a "gateway into the living room" in an interview with USA Today in 2012.[19] Skype currently reports 300 million connected users.[20]

In September 2011, Bates announced an initiative called, Skype in the Classroom, with the goal of connecting 1 million teachers.[21] In autumn 2012, Skype in the Workspace,[22] an offshoot of Skype's small business and Skype for business initiative, launched with slightly less fanfare but still reflects Bates’ goals to expand Skype beyond just a consumer product.

Rumors circulated that Bates was in the running to be the next CEO at Microsoft when Steve Ballmer announced his plans to the position in 2013. Bates was widely reported to be one of two internal candidates considered by the board for the role.[23][24] In 2012, tech reporter Kara Swisher asked Bates directly if he would be the next CEO of Microsoft. He dodged the question.[25] From July 2013 to March 2014, Bates was appointed EVP Business Development, Strategy and Evangelism, taking the only customer/partner and technology facing role which spans all of Microsoft's portfolio of products and businesses.

According to reports, he is rumoured to have left Microsoft following the decision by the company's Board to appoint Satya Nadella as successor to Steve Ballmer.[26]


On 4 June 2014 GoPro announced the appointment of Tony Bates as President reporting directly to CEO Nick Woodman.[27] In November 2016, GoPro announced that President Tony Bates would be stepping down at the end of 2016.[28]


On 6 May 2019, Genesys announced the appointment of Tony Bates as CEO.[29] He joined the $1.5Bn corporation during a period of rapid growth, with more than 5,000 employees globally.

Empathy in Action[edit]

Bates published the book 'Empathy in Action: How to Deliver Great Customer Experiences at Scale' with his co-author Dr Natalie Petouhoff. Published by IdeaPress first as an eBook in December 2021, with the hardback edition published March 2022; this book examines how technology can become a force multiplier to deliver more empathy and integrate deeper, more personalized human connections into everyday business interactions at scale. The book was reviewed in Forbes by Adrian Swinscoe in the article 'How to Put Empathy into Action in Your Customer Experience'.[30]


Bates served on the board on the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit Tipping Point Community from June 2012[31] to July 2020. He and his wife are also on the board of trustees for the United States Olympic Committee.

Business positions[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by CEO

Succeeded by
Preceded by
CEO, Growth
Social Capital

Succeeded by
Preceded by

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Executive Vice President, Business Development

Succeeded by
Peggy Johnson
Preceded by
President Skype Division

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Executive Officer
Skype Technologies

Succeeded by


  1. ^ "Social Capital has hired Tony Bates to run its new growth unit".
  2. ^ Beth Jinks and Dina Bass (4 June 2014). "GoPro Names Ex-Microsoft Executive Tony Bates as President". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Form 10-K: Microsoft Corporation". Securities and Exchange Commission. 30 June 2013. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Anthony J. Bates, 46 - Executive Vice President, Business Development and Evangelism
  4. ^ a b "Future of Communications: Rehumanizing the Experience from the Living Room to the Boardroom". TechNet. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Tony Bates Data". IETF. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  6. ^ "USPTO Patent Full-Text & Image Database Search Results". US Patent & Trademark Office. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Garside, Juliette (1 September 2011). "Skype Boss found route to Silicn Valley on Piccadilly line". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d "Tony Bates interview: Geek cred, Cisco lessons, and Skype's core values". Voice on the web. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  9. ^ "The Good Old Days Networking in UK Academia 25 years ago" (PDF). Jim Reid. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  10. ^ Kopytoff, Verne G. (20 December 2010). "Skype Looks for a Spot in Offices and Cellphones". New York Times. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Skype's Tony Bates Says the Goal is to Get Billions of Active Users". All Things D. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Skype Click to Call for Windows update". Skype. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Skype 5.8 for Windows: Full HD video-calling, Facebook integration, Group Screen Sharing= 2013-03-25". Skype.
  14. ^ "Welcome Skype for Windows 8: It's Fast, Easy and Beautiful". Skype. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Skype for Windows Phone 8 – install the Preview today". Skype. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Skype 6.1 for Windows Desktop with Outlook Integration". Skype. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Skype and Messenger Coming Together: The Next Chapter". Skype. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Type Less. Talk More. Make Skype Calls Directly From Your Inbox". Skype. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  19. ^ "Skype is at home with Microsoft". USA Today. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  20. ^ "Microsoft Lync Conference Revisited". Telepresence Option. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Skype CEO: Our Goal Is to Connect 1 Million Classrooms". Mashable. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  22. ^ "Getting started with Skype in the workspace". Skype. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  23. ^ "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire in the next 12 months". Neowin. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Microsoft's Next CEO: Who's on the Short List?". Redmond Magazine. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Skype Boss Tony Bates: Is this Microsoft's next CEO". GeekWire. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  26. ^ "Microsoft Shakeup: Tony Bates and Tami Reller to leave the company". Neowin. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  27. ^ "GoPro hires former Skype CEO and Microsoft exec Tony Bates". The VErge. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  28. ^ Warren, Tom (30 November 2016). "GoPro cuts 15 percent of jobs to restructure struggling camera business". The Verge. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  29. ^ "Genesys Taps Former Cisco, Microsoft, Skype Exec as CEO". Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  30. ^ Swinscoe, Adrian. "How To Put Empathy Into Action In Your Customer Experience". Forbes. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  31. ^ "Tony Bates Joins Tipping Point Community Board of Directors". PR Newswire. Retrieved 19 March 2013.