Diversity Leadership: Michael Dell, Dell
Chairman and CEO
Michael Dell’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in when he disassembled the first computer he ever owned. “I wanted to see how it worked, so I took it apart,” Dell told the Academy of Achievement. “Then I kind of became fascinated with, ‘Well, how could you improve it?’” These questions led Dell to found his computer company at age 19 out of a dorm room at the University of Texas.
The same innovative spirit and an openness to new ideas have helped Dell’s company become a leader in diversity. “Dell’s commitment to diversity starts at the top,” says DiversityInc, “with Chairman and CEO Michael Dell visibly supporting diversity, holding executives accountable for results, and meeting in small-group sessions as well as virtual meetings with resource groups regularly.” He also chairs the company’s global diversity council, which is made up of top executives.
When Dell joined the Fortune 500 in 1992, eight years after its founding, Michael Dell became the youngest Fortune 500 CEO in history. In 1998, he founded MSD Capital, a private investment firm that manages his personal fortune, and in 1999, he and his wife formed the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at helping children living in urban poverty.
Dell serves on the board of directors of Catalyst and on the governing board of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India; is a member of The Business Council; and is chairman of the Technology CEO Council.