(1965 - )
Michael Dell is an American business magnate best known as the founder, chairman and CEO of Dell Incorporated. He is one of the richest people in the world, ranked 44 with a net worth of $14.6 billion in 2011.
Michael Saul Dell was born February 23, 1965 to a wealthy Jewish family in Houston, Texas. Dell attended school in Houston and became an avid businessman in the summers by selling newspaper subscriptions and learning about electronics. While a pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin, Dell started an informal business upgrading computers in room 2713 of the Dobie Center residential building. He then applied for a vendor license to bid on contracts for the State of Texas, winning bids by not having the overhead of a computer store.
In January 1984, Dell registered his company as "PC's Limited". Operating out of a condominium, the business sold between $50,000 and $80,000 in upgraded PCs, kits, and add-on components. In May, Dell incorporated the company as "Dell Computer Corporation" and relocated it to a business center in North Austin. The company employed a few order takers, a few more people to fulfill them, and, as Dell recalled, a manufacturing staff "consisting of three guys with screwdrivers sitting at six-foot tables."
In 1992 at the age of 27, Dell became the youngest CEO to have his company ranked in Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 corporations. In 1996, Dell started selling computers over the Web, the same year his company launched its first servers. Dell Inc. soon reported about $1 million in sales per day from dell.com. In the first quarter of 2001, Dell Inc. reached a world market share of 12.8 percent, passing Compaq to become the world's largest PC maker. The metric marked the first time the rankings had shifted over the previous seven years. The company's combined shipments of desktops, notebooks and servers grew 34.3 percent worldwide and 30.7 percent in the United States at a time when competitors' sales were shrinking.
On March 4, 2004, Dell stepped down as CEO of Dell Inc. but stayed as chairman of the board.
Dell is also a devoted philanthropist, both to his hometown Jewish community in Austin and to his alma mater, the University of Texas. In 1999, the Dell family established the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which focuses on children’s causes. By 2010, the foundation had committed more than $530 million to assist nonprofit organizations serving urban communities in the United States and India. The foundation has also provided $65 million in grants to three health-related organizations associated with the University of Texas: the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living, the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, and the Dell Children’s Medical Center, as well as funding for a new computer science building on the University of Texas campus.
Dell is married to wife Susan and has four children.
Photo Credit: Flickr, MikeandRyan (2010).