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Who is Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger

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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger has always had a reputation as being a bit of a Boy Scout. So he decided to play against type a few years ago for his keynote address at the software company’s annual customer conference in Las Vegas.

“What can I do to take my commitment to the next level,” he asked the crowd. “I went down the street to Bad-Ass Tattoo.”

Rolling up his sleeve, Gelsinger revealed a huge tattoo spelling out the company’s name in bold black letters across his left forearm. He even had a photo of himself at the aforementioned local parlor getting the seemingly permanent sign of his loyalty to VMware administered by a blonde braided tattoo artist. “Sometimes what happens in Vegas, you take home,” he added.

The audience loved it, but his wife was not amused. Luckily for Gelsinger’s marriage, the tattoo was only temporary and the photo was staged.

And now, luckily for his career choices too. Intel announced on Jan. 13 that its current CEO, Bob Swan, was stepping aside next month and that Gelsinger would take over. In many ways, it’s a return of the prodigal son, as Gelsinger, 59, spent three decades at Intel before leaving in 2009 for EMC and eventually the top role at VMware.

Intel could use some help. The once-dominant chipmaker for PCs and servers is facing challenges from all directions. While manufacturing stumbles have hamstrung Intel’s own chip improvements, Advanced Micro Devices is grabbing market share with better performing processors. Nvidia is buying rival Arm to bolster its position in processor chips, and Apple has defected from Intel to chips of its own designs, perhaps enticing Microsoft to follow suit. Meanwhile, big cloud services at Amazon and Google are developing their own server chips to displace Intel as well.

A lot of Intel’s shortcomings over the next three years “are likely already set in stone, and there is not much Pat is going to be able to do to change that,” longtime chip industry analyst Stacy Rasgon at Bernstein Research noted after the announcement on Wednesday.

Gelsinger certainly seems up to task. Growing up on a farm in an Amish part of rural Pennsylvania, he woke up before dawn to care for pigs and cows. His main morning task, he told Forbes years later, was to “go straight to a day of dusty labor and try not to get kicked by an animal.”

Neither of his parents had more than an eighth-grade education, he told the Computer History Museum. “They just pounded into us, from early ages, go to school, go to school,” he said.

In high school, he showed an aptitude for math and science and graduated early after winning a scholarship at a branch of the Lincoln Technical Institute. That was the first place he encountered computers, excelled at electronics, and drew the attention of a recruiter from Intel. A job interview in Silicon Valley came courtesy of the first plane ride of his life. Only 18 years old and without a four-year college degree, Gelsinger took a job at Intel as a quality-control technician in 1979.

Taking advantage of Intel’s generous tuition reimbursement program and flexible work hours policy, he then got a BA in electrical engineering at Santa Clara University in 1983 and a master’s degree from Stanford University in 1985, all while working full-time. Legendary computer science professor John Hennessy was Gelsinger’s master’s adviser at Stanford.

He also continued gaining responsibilities. While working on Intel’s 386 processor, he drew the attention of hard-driving Intel CEO Andy Grove, a “career defining moment,” Gelsinger said later. Grove mentored Gelsinger for decades afterward.

Gelsinger was put in charge of the design of Intel’s popular 486 chip line in his twenties and became the company’s first-ever chief technology officer in 2001, at age 40.

Gelsinger has a somewhat unusual background in Silicon Valley as a devout Christian. A strong religious upbringing has helped navigate the difficulties of the corporate world, he says. A favorite biblical verse from the Book of Colossians commands, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” He cited the verse in a 2016 interview, adding: “I can get the snot kicked out of me at a board meeting or during a sales call, and I can rebound the next day, full of joy and purpose, to start anew.”

He also met his wife, Linda, at church services when he first moved to California.

Despite all his success and talents at Intel, Gelsinger was passed over for the top job in 2005, when Paul Otellini was selected. Gelsinger hopped to data storage giant EMC as chief operating officer in 2009, moving to the Boston area.

Still aiming to be a CEO, he asked to attend EMC board meetings and got plenty of advice from the company’s cofounder, Jack Egan. “We’re an East Coast company. You need to dress like you’re at an East Coast company,” Egan told him, Gelsinger later recalled. The command prompted a quick shopping trip to Nordstrom’s that night.

Egan also told Gelsinger he needed to better understand corporate finance. So Gelsinger spent a year getting tutored by a Columbia University professor in the subject.

The homework paid off when the top job at EMC’s VMware unit opened up in 2012.

At first, the fight was against cloud computing. Amazon advocated that companies give up running their own data centers and move to the cloud. Gelsinger tried to fight back with offerings to make data centers more efficient and more secure. Then VMware tried to create its own cloud service, but that flopped. Ultimately, opposing the cloud was a losing battle, and Gelsinger shifted strategy completely, partnering VMware with Amazon’s and Microsoft’s services and making software that assisted customers moving to the cloud.

“Simply put, customers are asking us to do more together,” Gelsinger told Fortune in August 2019, explaining the deal with Microsoft Azure. He had previously outlined his philosophy in another interview with Fortune in April 2019. “If you don’t get in front of these waves of transition, you’re driftwood,” Gelsinger said. “You’ve got to get on the right portion of the wave and have that energy pull you forward.”

The deep engineering background has helped Gelsinger identify trends like the cloud, which should help him steer the ship at Intel. A few years ago, he even coined an acronym for what he saw as the most important trends of the time, though it was an acronym only an engineer could love: SOMOCLOBAT. That stood for social, mobile, cloud, and big analytical data.

Intel has struggled in several of those areas, particularly mobile. Gelsinger will need more than a few more acronyms to succeed.

More must-read tech coverage from Fortune:

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Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez Gets Trump Pardon. Could This Be A Power Move By Jay-Z?

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Former President Trump disclosed last-minute commutations and pardons at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Variety reported. On the list were many people from executives to politicians, including former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and rappers Kodak Black and Lil Wayne. To everyone’s surprise, an unexpected name appeared on Trump’s clemency list– Roc Nation CEO  Desiree Perez. According to the publication, Desiree and her husband are close friends with Jay-Z. Perez’s husband, Juan, is also the CEO of Roc Nation Sports.

A statement from the former Press Secretary regarding Desiree’s presidential pardon stated Trump took into account the positive changes the leader has made in her life since her conviction for attempting to distribute narcotics. 

“President Trump granted a full pardon to Desiree Perez. Ms. Perez was involved in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Since her conviction, Ms. Perez has taken full accountability for her actions and has turned her life around,” the letter read. “She has been gainfully employed and has been an advocate for criminal justice reform in her community.”

Desiree, who is Cuban-American, is a music-industry staple and was appointed to the top position in 2019. In the same year, Billboard Magazine deemed her Executive Of The Year during the publication’s yearly Women in Music event. She heads the organization’s numerous outlets like activism, television and movies, music, publishing and touring. The multi-million-dollar entertainment and sports organization is home to today’s most prominent pop culture names, including Shakira, J.Cole, Rihanna, Big Sean and Megan Thee Stallion, Variety reported.

According to Variety, Desiree was arrested in 1994 for drug possession and in 1998 for gun possession and grand theft. After becoming an informant for the U.S. Attorney’s office, she was sentenced to five years probation. She violated her probation and served nine months in jail in 1999.

“I’m grateful to have received a pardon and to have formally closed that chapter of my life in the eyes of the law,” the 52-year-old Cubana told Variety. “I have taken full accountability for my mistakes from 25 years ago, but I also take tremendous pride in my personal growth, perseverance and accomplishments since then. This pardon reinforces my lifelong commitment to advocate for criminal justice reform and social justice initiatives.”

It’s also fair to note that Jay-Z and Beyonce were extremely vocal about their support for the Obama administration. The Carters were relatively quiet during this last election cycle. According to an insider, the Roc Nation owner didn’t want to get on Trump’s bad side– especially if it could help Perez.

“As anyone who’s worked with the Trump White House knows, you can’t piss him off, or he will take revenge,” the source told Variety.

Although the power move is speculative, Jay-Z is looking to break into the cannabis business, and Desiree’s felonious record could’ve interfered with that plan.

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‘There is No Place for Mediocrity’: 86-Year-Old Accountant Shares Powerful Success Tips 

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Lester McKeever made history as one of the first 100 African-Americans to become a Certified Public Accountant in the U.S. According to the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPAs), less than 1% of all CPAs in the U.S. are Black.

“Being a CPA, a highly recognized credential in the business world, provided me the opportunity to leverage many unique opportunities,” says McKeever in an exclusive interview with Black Enterprise.

For many decades, McKeever has worked to expose more students to the accounting profession. Through various programs, he has raised millions of dollars to provide scholarships and job opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

“Being Black limited your opportunities,” McKeever shared as he recalls his experience trying to find a job as a black accountant in the 1950s. “But showing true concern for your client’s success and working to improve your community provides unexpected benefits. When you give to others, you gain more than you give in trying to help.”

Creating a Foundation for Success

McKeever is proof that where you come from does not determine how far you can go.

McKeever was born in Chicago in 1934. His parents did not graduate from high school but they fully supported his education. McKeever displayed a strong desire to excel in all of his classes, earning him the math and science award in high school. McKeever didn’t dream of going to college until receiving a scholarship from a student club. This one moment changed his entire career trajectory. 

He went on to graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, obtain his CPA license, and study law at the Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law.

“It’s a paper world,” says McKeever. “It’s unbelievable what really happens when you have credentials that indicate that you are prepared to take on other challenges.”

Overcoming Obstacles as a Black Accountant

Mckeever believes that mentorship and networking are important in your career. They were the link that helped him secure a job when major corporations were not hiring black people.

“When I graduated from college, the Big 8 accounting firms and large corporations did not hire African Americans,” says Mckeever. “My university forced one firm to give me the courtesy of an interview. They said they couldn’t hire me because their clients wouldn’t accept me.”

McKeever started his career working with a Black-owned life insurance company. Through relationships at this firm, he was introduced to Mary T. Washington Wylie — the first Black woman to become a CPA in the U.S.

Wylie provided McKeever with a part-time work opportunity during tax season. This kicked off a long career with Washington & Pittman accounting firm, leading to an appointment on the Board of Directors as a managing partner. Later, the firm was renamed Washington, Pittman & McKeever.

One of Mckeever’s keys to success is knowing your craft inside and out. “Anything related to the success of your career, you have to be on top of that. There’s no place for mediocrity anymore. You have to be skilled in what you are trying to do.”

Becoming a History Maker

Mckeever has had a successful career as an accountant and has broken many barriers. He was a member of the Finance Committee under Chicago Mayor’s Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley. In 1997, he became chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. These history-making moments established McKeever as one of Chicago’s most influential business leaders. 

If you want to achieve success and attract mentors, Mckeever says that “you have to get involved in the community.” McKeever has served on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Institute of Technology and treasurer of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. McKeever was one of the founding members of the Chicago Urban League’s Impact Leadership Development Program. He also paved the way for the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program.

“I always tell people to involve themselves in as many activities as you possibly can (especially) community type organizations. When people see you working hard and trying to help others, they see you working hard and try to help you.”

If you want to learn more about upcoming initiatives to support the advancement and awareness of Black accountants, visit the National Society of Black CPA’s Facebook page and join the #MyCPAIsBlack campaign.

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Biden’s Green Energy Boom Could Send These Electric Vehicle Stocks Soaring

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