Stanford president, an influential force in Silicon Valley, to leave post

The president of Stanford University, a computer scientist who sits on the boards of Google Inc and Cisco Systems Inc and has been an influential force in Silicon Valley, plans to step down next year, the university said.

John Hennessy, who since 2000 has served as president of the prestigious private university in Northern California, said he will leave the post in summer 2016 to focus on teaching. "The time has come to return to what brought me to Stanford - teaching and research," Hennessy said on Thursday to the faculty senate, where he received a standing ovation, according to the university.

Hennessy, 62, who in the 1980s co-founded a semiconductor company, forged close ties with the technology industry in Silicon Valley, including with the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the founders of Google.

Aside from sitting on the boards of Google and Cisco, he also has mentored many students who have gone on to work in the tech industry.

On occasion, he also has met with the leaders of countries such as Japan, Germany and Russia when they have come to Silicon Valley.

During his time as president of Stanford, Hennessy has been known for fostering exchanges across different academic disciplines at the school. He successfully led a $6.2 billion fundraising campaign for such projects as multidisciplinary research and graduate fellowships and also organized a separate $1 billion campaign focused on undergraduate education. "It has been a remarkable run, one of the greatest not only in Stanford's history but also in the annals of American higher education," Steven A. Denning, chair of the university's board of trustees, said in a statement.

A search committee to find the university's next president plans to begin work in September.