Michael D. Capellas was Chairman & CEO of First Data Corporation (FDC), the world’s leading payment processing company, from 2007 to 2010. He was on the board of directors of VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment Company, from January 2006 to November 2012, serving one year as Chairman and CEO. The company was formed by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel, offering technology products and solutions for cloud-based computing.
He is on the board of Cisco, a multinational corporation networking and communications technology and services company. Capellas was also senior advisor for Silver Lake Partners, a $13 billion private equity firm focused on making large-scale investments in leading technology companies, from October 2006 to July 2007.
Capellas’ earlier executive roles include chairman & CEO of Compaq Computer Corporation between 1999 and 2001. Following Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of Compaq, he stayed on as president of HP for six months to ease the integration of the two companies. He then left HP to become chairman & CEO of MCI WorldCom between 2002 and 2006, presiding over the eventual Verizon-MCI merger. He had joined WorldCom, which was in bankruptcy, to help it overcome a massive accounting scandal. After the transfer to Verizon was completed, Capellas received a $40 million severance package.
A 30-year veteran of the IT industry, he took charge of First Data shortly after Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquired the credit card giant for $29 billion in April 2007. In 1992, First Data spun off from American Express. It handles e-commerce processing services, including merchant and bank transactions, credit, retail and debit card issuing and processing. Capellas left First Data in 2010
Capellas says he inherited his gritty determination from his father, a Greek citizen who fought with the Greek Army against the Germans in Italy during World War II. After the war, the elder Capellas met and married his wife Juliet in Italy. The family then immigrated to Ohio, where Capellas’ father worked his way up from laborer to superintendent at the Republic Steel Corporation. He worked there for 30 years.
Capellas developed an interest in computers as an undergraduate at Kent State University. Shortly after he graduated, he met his wife, Marie Angelillo, a former nurse. The two married in 1979, and traveled the world for two decades as Capellas’ business reputation grew.
He was a senior vice president of Oracle Corporation in 1997-98. He is credited, in his work with Compaq, with making it Microsoft’s key strategic partner for the release of its Windows 2000 operating system. In December 2006, Capellas was appointed acting CEO of Serena Software, selected by Silver Lake, which took Serena private in March 2006.
Capellas and his wife have two daughters. He is also actively involved in community and charitable work. In 2002, he became the first recipient of the Hope Technology Award from the Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Capellas previously served as a member of the American University Board of Trustees. He recently served as co-chair of the CLOUD² Commission, including specialists who offered the Obama government recommendations on cloud computing policies.