Levinson served as chief executive officer of Genentech from July 1995 to April 2009. Levinson serves as the chairman of the board of Apple, and previously served as a director of Google from 2004 to 2009.
Levinson has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific articles and has been named an inventor on 11 United States patents. He was inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame at the 2003 Biotech Meeting of chief executive officers. BusinessWeek named Levinson one of the “Best Managers of the Year” in 2004 and 2005, and Institutional Investor named him “America’s Best CEO” in the biotech category four years in a row (2004–2007). In 2006, Princeton University awarded Levinson the James Madison Medal for a distinguished career in scientific research and in biotechnology. In 2008, Levinson was elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2011 Levinson received the American Association for Cancer Research Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, and in 2012 he received the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Double Helix Medal. In 2014 he received the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award from the University of Washington, and was honored as a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama.
Levinson received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington and earned a doctorate in biochemical sciences from Princeton University.