John C. East was raised and educated in Merced, California and graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Fairchild Semiconductor in Mountain View as a product engineer in 1968 during the transition of the company to the leadership of Lester Hogan. He moved to Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Sunnyvale in 1979 and served in engineering management positions for 10 years, including as senior vice president responsible for the Logic Products Group.
Mr. East joined programmable logic manufacturer Actel Corporation as Chief Executive Officer and President in 1988 and remained in this role until retiring in 2010. He has served on the board of directors of public and private technology companies including Adaptec, Pericom and Zehntel and as an advisor to the Board of Regents of U.C. Berkeley.