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Executive Spotlight: Chris Paisley

Chris is one of the friendliest finance guys in the room, always smiling, and always looking for something humorous to add to the story. In that way Chris has always reminded me of my oldest brother who has a wicked blend of humor and intellect. I’m grateful to Chris for hiring me at 3Com in the late 1980s.

Chris, one of many hires with HP experience, was 3Com’s CFO during many of its early and middle years, working for Bill Krause and then Eric Benhamou. Infamously, Chris was also the strongest voice and defender in the renaming of Candlestick Park to 3Com Park in 1995. When I met Chris at Peet’s Coffee in 2018, he shared another personal story of his – when he was interviewed by Bob Metcalfe for the CFO role at a hamburger joint in the mid 1980s, Chris asked him, “Bob, what is it that motivates you now? You’ve been a founder of a company that has gone public. You’ve already achieved great success.” Bob nodded and told him, “You’re right. I could have called in ‘rich’ a long time ago, but I want to build something of lasting permanence, with a great increase in stock price for its investors. I want to see 3Com succeed and grow”. That moment stuck with Chris for a long time. Years later, after Bob had already left 3Com and the company he started had ascended in great value and import in the industry, Chris sent a note to Bob to say, “I’ve never forgotten. I hope you feel proud. Your vision, its underpinnings and the foundation you laid for the company permitted all of this to happen. Thank you for having that vision.”

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Chris with Debra Engel and Alan Kessler, circa 1990s ExecCom hiking offsite

Chris Paisley at Peets coffee in Saratoga, June 2018

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