Executive Spotlight: Leon Woo

Leon was a founder of Synernetics, the pioneering Ethernet switching company that was acquired by 3Com in 1994. This acquisition took place just after Cisco’s first—of Crescendo—in October 1993. That interesting story was chronicled in The Gorilla Game by Geoffrey Moore. I am very fortunate to have gained Leon Woo’s help and key historical perspectives on the 3Com story.


Leon’s company Synernetics, which was based in Boxborough, MA, went on to become 3Com’s Switching Division. The acquisition also set in motion 3Com’s purchase of 100 acres of land in Marlboro, MA which would eventually become the new 3Com headquarters under CEO Bruce Claflin. The campus consisted of three 300,000 square foot office buildings, and was actually large enough to force the state of Massachusetts to build a full cloverleaf on Interstate 495 to mitigate traffic congestion—something that other companies like HP, IBM, and Fidelity had been trying to get done for years. In the book, we cover the impact of 3Com’s fateful move to Massachusetts. We also cover how Leon attempted to help Edgar and Anik evaluate an innovative idea to merge five networking giants together to combat Cisco as a credible #2.


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From Left to Right – David Katz, Boston Mayor Tom Menino, and Leon Woo, Synernetics co-founder with a check for $1 million for NetDay in April 1997.

From Left to Right - Tom Payzant, Harvard professor and author, and former Superintendent, Boston Public Schools, Leon Woo, and Tom Menino, Boston’s longest serving Mayor from 1993 to 2014. Photo taken in April 1997.