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Thomas Cowan

Associate Director of the Center for Technology Management

Thomas Cowan now makes his home at Columbia University. This follows the first half of his career at IBM and the second half building software companies.

Tom rose through the leadership ranks to become CEO, Board Director, and Board Chair of more than ten companies – including public, private, non-profit, and academic organizations.

Today, Tom’s focus is on change, technology, and leadership – with a special focus on artificial intelligence and the leadership paths forward.

Tom has served on numerous boards, including OutlookSoft, Tivoli, Tagetik,, and He has chaired audit, compensation, governance, and nominating committees. He has also been Executive in Residence at RockRidge Capital Partners.

Currently, Tom is on the faculty at Columbia University and serves as Associate Director of the Columbia University Center for Technology Management. He also serves as board director and board chair for several technology companies, an advisor to investment firms, and an advisor to tech CEOs.

His most recent books are one on technology: Leading in the Digital Age: Disruption, Transformation, Data, Cybersecurity, & Artificial Intelligence; and a book on music: Basic Scales & Arpeggios: Horn in F. His next book is titled Business Concepts: What You Need to Know to Build and Manage a Tech Company, to be published in late 2020, and then in early 2021: The Business Plan: Business Planning, Financial Planning, & Investors. Tom has two more books planned – one on ADM Hyman G. Rickover and his leadership approach, and one on Artificial Intelligence for CEOs & Board Directors.

Tom’s academic background includes undergraduate work at Wake Forest University, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and doctoral studies at Columbia University.


  • Doctoral Studies, Columbia University
  • M.B.A., University of South Carolina
  • B.A., Wake Forest University


  • Leading in the Digital Age: Disruption, Transformation, Data, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence (First Edition, Vecker Press, 2018)
  • From Idea to Business (First Edition, Vecker Press, 2011)
  • Leadership Basics (First Edition, Vecker Press, 2011)
  • Business Basics (First Edition, Vecker Press, 2011)