Tony Bates delivering lecture at LSBU

From South Bank to Silicon Valley: Genesys CEO and former student Tony Bates pledges LSBU scholarships

05 December 2023

Silicon Valley chief executive officer (CEO) and former student Tony Bates returned to his roots at London South Bank University (LSBU) on Tuesday to give a talk to students and alumni, as the university announced he has pledged two scholarships for students.

The business leader, who today runs Genesys, a $2 billion global cloud leader in AI-powered experience orchestration, said LSBU is where a lifelong passion for technology and computing started.

It’s been nearly 40 years since I attended LSBU as a first-year student and, while my time on campus was brief, the impact was profound,” he said.  “It’s helped guide me to the boardrooms of some of the world’s most successful technology companies, including my role today as Chairman and CEO of Genesys.” 

In the three decades before joining Genesys, Mr. Bates held executive leadership roles with technology brands, such as Cisco, Microsoft and Skype. Previously, he contributed to the technology that became the internet we know today, while working at the University of London Computer Centre and Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre in the Netherlands. 

"I discovered a lifelong passion for technology while apprenticing in a machine room of LSBU’s engineering building all those years ago’” he said. “That machine room was the spark that ignited it all.” 

It is Mr. Bates’ first visit to LSBU since leaving in 1986, when the university was known as South Bank Polytechnic.  His schooldays had been spent living with his mother above the shop where she worked at a hairdresser in the suburb of Teddington, before a move to Hanworth. 

During today’s conversation, Mr. Bates shared his story of helping shape several of the most critical technology market transitions. From helping to architect the internet that today powers the world’s economy, to ushering in the new era of online video conferencing and mobile apps, to now spearheading global technology market leaders through their evolution to cloud computing, digital transformation and the AI revolution.  Afterwards, LSBU engineering faculty members sat down with Bates for a fireside chat to discuss the latest in emergency technology trends that will shape the future of business. 

“It was great to learn about how Tony’s early experiences at South Bank has inspired such a remarkable career,” said LSBU Provost Tara Dean. “We are delighted to announce the scholarships at LSBU, and I know that his story will inspire our students and wider alumni community, many of whom come to us, as he did, from local boroughs.” 

Mr. Bates also discussed how AI and other transformational technology trends are redefining how the world’s biggest brands are connecting with their customers and employees.

In-person attendees received copies of Tony Bates’ Wall Street Journal-bestselling book Empathy in Action, while many others watched the presentation online.