Thomas E. Richards
Thomas E. Richards is executive chairman of the board of directors for CDW.
Prior to his retirement at the end of 2018, Richards was chairman, president and chief executive officer of CDW. Under Richards’ leadership, the company grew from $9.6 billion in revenue in 2011 to more than $15 billion in 2017 and rose from No. 270 on the Fortune 500 list to No. 189. Since the company’s 2013 IPO, CDW’s market capitalization has grown over $12 billion. Richards’ was voted as Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs – Employees’ Choice in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Richards joined CDW in 2009 as president and chief operating officer with 33 years of experience in the technology industry. He became president and chief executive officer in October 2011 and added the title of chairman in January 2013. Prior to joining the company, Richards served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Qwest Communications, overseeing the day-to-day operations and performance of the telecommunications firm. Before assuming that role, he was executive vice president of Qwest’s business markets group. Richards also served as chairman and chief executive officer of Clear Communications, a network management software company, and as executive vice president and management committee member of Ameritech, where he oversaw cellular, security monitoring, network services and cable television operations. Additionally, Richards worked for 19 years with Bell Atlantic in various sales, marketing and operations roles in telecommunications and computer services.
Richards earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Sloan Fellows Program. He serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Chicago and Northern Trust and on the board of trustees for the University of Pittsburgh and is a former trustee of Rush University Medical Center. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Executives’ Club of Chicago.