Champy earned his BS in 1963 and his MS in Civil Engineering in 1965 from MIT. Anxious to broaden his education, he attended Boston College Law School, where he became deeply involved in the intellectual life of the school and served on The Law Review as a writer and as an editor of The Annual Review of Massachusetts Law. He received his JD in 1968 and immediately passed the bar exam.
In 1969, Tom Gerrity, Champy’s roommate from MIT who recently retired as dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, had an opportunity to start a company based on the work he was doing toward his PhD. His first project was to build an automated investment portfolio management system, and he asked Champy and two other MIT classmates—Fred Luconi and Richard Carpenter—to join him as partners. They started with an initial investment of $370 each and named the company Index Systems.
By 1988, Index saw the need to become part of a large company and was acquired by CSC. After CSC acquired Index, Gerrity left to become dean of Wharton and Champy became chairman, leading the firm to international prominence and its growth to $200 million. "At Index, I learned how to grow a business," he says. As chairman of consulting for Perot Systems, Champy continued to consult with clients, while providing strategic guidance to Perot Systems’ own growth.
Champy is in demand as a speaker around the world. He is often asked by major media to comment on the news of the day and is a frequent guest on television and radio programs. Champy is a member of the MIT Corporation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Board of Trustees, and serves on the Board of Overseers of the Boston College Law School. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Analog Devices, Inc.