John has held the positions of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President of the Australian National University, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and Master of University House at the ANU. He is an electrical engineer, having graduated from the University of New South Wales with the degrees of Bachelor of Engineering (Hons 1) and Doctor of Philosophy. Before joining ANU John was Rector at UNSW/ADFA.
John is an Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales. In the 1990s he served on several committees of the Australian Research Council and was Deputy Chair of the Australian Space Council.
He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc., NY.
He was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal, and in 2009 was made a Member in the Order of Australia.