Ambassador Thomas F. Stephenson

After a nearly 40-year career in venture capital, Thomas F. Stephenson began transitioning into the world of policy about 15 years ago. He had helped found Fidelity Ventures in Boston in the late 1960s before joining Sequoia Capital in the mid 1980s, and acted as managing partner for a while at both firms. He remains a limited partner at Sequoia Capital today.

His interest in Republican politics led to a friendship with George W. Bush, and after helping in President Bush’s initial election and in his reelection, Stephenson was asked to join the State Department and serve as the U.S. ambassador to Portugal. Upon returning from Portugal, he reengaged very actively at the Hoover Institution where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Overseers. At Hoover, he also worked very closely with former Secretary of State George Shultz on a variety of policy projects in the fields of energy, national security, and foreign policy. Stephenson co-founded and co-chaired, with Secretary Shultz, the Shultz/Stephenson Energy Task Force at the Hoover Institution.

Another major portion of Stephenson’s policy devoted efforts have been with Business Executives for National Security (BENS), where he is a board member and frequent participant in BENS’ missions to various hotspots around the world, including Israel, Egypt, Djibouti, Afghanistan, UAE, Qatar, India, China, Korea, and Japan. These visits are typically at the request of the State Department, the Department of Defense, one of the Combatant Commands, or the resident U.S. Embassy, and BENS’s role is to visit and provide fresh perspectives on U.S. top military, diplomatic, and business challenges in these countries or regions.

Other current involvements include the Board of Advisors of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the Precourt Institute Energy Advisory Council at Stanford, the Stanford Global Energy Council, and the Council of American Ambassadors. Previous involvements over the years have included serving as a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, the MIT Energy Initiative External Advisory Board, and as a longtime member of the Board of Directors of Conservation International.

Stephenson received his AB in Economics from Harvard College in 1964, his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1966, and a JD from Boston College Law School in 1969. He resides in Atherton, California, with his wife Barbara. They have a son who lives and works in Dallas, and he also has three adult daughters and seven grandchildren who all live in the San Francisco Bay area.