Computer Science alum Farzad (Zod) Nazem was recently named an Honored Alumni.
The Honored Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon Cal Poly alumni by the university’s Alumni Association, and was established more than 50 years ago. The award recognizes alumni from the university’s six academic colleges.
Nazem graduated in 1981 with highest honors with a degree in computer science at age 19. He began his career as a software engineer in the VLCBX division of Rolm Corporation. From 1985 to 1996, Nazem held various software development and executive management positions at Oracle Corporation, eventually rising to the role of vice president of the Media and Web Server Division and a member of the company’s Product Division Management Committee, which set the overall strategy for Oracle products.
From 1996 to mid-2007, Nazem was the executive vice president of engineering and chief technology officer of Yahoo!. During his tenure, he scaled engineering from six to 6,000 engineers encompassing half of the company’s employee base and helped acquire and integrate more than 50 companies.
Nazem, who also holds several patents, retired from Yahoo! in 2007 and has since has been a prolific angel investor and advisor to more than 100 early-stage tech startup companies. Several of these investments have had initial public offerings, including Zoom Video Communications, Guardant Health and Adaptive Biotechnologies, while others have achieved successful exits that include acquisitions by Google, Yahoo!, Apigee, Twitter, Boston Scientific, Roche and Cisco.
In 2003, Nazem and his wife, Noosheen Hashemi, co-founded the HAND Foundation, an advisory and grant-making organization focused on the advancement of individuals and communities. Nazem also serves on the board of trustees of The Nueva School, an institution for gifted learners, which incorporates the philosophy of Learn by Doing, Learn by Caring, into the curriculum.