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About ComSoc

ComSoc Award Winner

Nominate a Candidate for the Career and Service Awards

Do you know an IEEE ComSoc member or ICT engineering professional making an impact in our industry or society? Are you making a significant contribution to our field or society? Nominate a peer for an IEEE ComSoc Award now.

Deadline 1 September

Submit a Nomination

Plaque, certificate, and honorarium of US$2,000.

Recognizes an industry executive whose leadership has resulted in major and outstanding advances and new directions in the information and communications business.

An information or communications industry executive who has played a major leadership role in research or development and the introduction of systems, devices, applications or services that have significantly impacted the communications and information markets on a global basis. The candidate must show that he or she has substantially advanced the use of information and communication technologies in industry, commerce, and society. The candidate is not required to be an IEEE member.

Selection Criteria and Basis for Judging
Executive leadership resulting in major advances and new directions in the information and communications business area.  Evaluation is based on factors such as the global acceptance of products and services, financial success and growth of the business, ubiquity of the products and services, emulation of the contributions by the competition, and the degree of the candidate's global recognition.  Other selection criteria include time of service, impact, and specific innovations.

Nomination/Selection Process
Nominations will be solicited each year, up to the nominations deadline decided by the Awards Committee.  Nominations will be openly solicited however, nominations would also be received from a Nominations Committee appointed by the President of the IEEE Communications Society.

The award will be presented at a major IEEE Communications Society annual conference or venue appropriate to the business area of the recipient. The award will not be conferred in any given year if a suitable candidate is not identified. The award will be given annually (as appropriate) and no more than two awards will be given per year.

Administration and Funding
The IEEE Communications Society will administer the award covered out of annual Society operations budget.

Nominations due 15 February and 1 September.


2021 Award Recipient

John Donovan

For his visionary leadership in software defined networking in transforming global telecommunications industry

John Donovan
John Donovan, White House National Security Technology Advisory Committee

As the former CEO – AT&T Communications, John Donovan was responsible for the bulk of AT&T’s global telecommunications and video services businesses, including AT&T’s Business, Entertainment, and Technology & Operations groups.

Prior to that, Donovan served as Chief Strategy Officer and Group President – AT&T Technology and Operations where he led strategic planning for the company. Additionally, he led the company’s networks and technologies team, which drove AT&T’s global leadership in the technological transition to software-defined networking as well as the company’s leadership in the move to 5G networks. He also oversaw the company’s global information, software development, supply chain, network operations, and big data organizations, as well as AT&T’s Intellectual Property group, Labs and Foundries.

Previously, Donovan worked as an Executive Vice President at VeriSign, Chairman and CEO of inCode Telecom Group, Inc., and was a partner at Deloitte Consulting.

Donovan currently serves as a Board Member at Palo Alto Networks, NovaSignal, Cresta Technologies, Ziosk, Lucata Technologies, and Lockheed Martin. He is Chair of the White House National Security Technology Advisory Committee. He is also an advisor to VeryGood Security and Neeva.

Donovan received a B.S.E.E. from the University of Notre Dame and earned an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Minnesota.

Donovan has authored several books, supports and advises numerous charities serving education, environmental and social justice initiatives including the digital divide.


2020 - Mallik Tatipamula
2019 - Ibrahim J. Gedeon
2018 - Wen Tong
2017 - Zhengmao Li
2016 - Jong-Kyun Shin 
- Paul Jacobs
2014 - Eros Spadotto
2013 No Award 
 - Janusz Filipiak, Niklas Zennström, and Janus Friis 
2011 No Award

2010 - Suk-Chae Lee
2009 - Kaoru Yano
2008 No Award
2007 - Arun Sarin
2006 - Henry Samueli
2005 - No Award
2004 - Ki Tae Lee and Irwin M. Jacobs 
2003 - Jorma Ollila
2002 - John T. Chambers
2001 - Keiji Tachikawa