By Ellen McGirt
Updated: November 16, 2017 2:36 PM ET

Fortune’s Businessperson Of The Year for 2017 was announced today. As a list, it’s part head — an analysis of 12- and 36-month increases in profits, revenues, stock performance and return on capital — and whole lot of heart.

Say the editors: “We lean toward CEOs with vision—those impacting the world beyond their companies.” The 20 all-star executives that make up the list “are doing nothing less than defining the future of business.”

The list is notably diverse in terms of gender. And while CEOs from Asian communities are well-represented, black, African American and Native American leaders remain conspicuously absent.

But don’t let that diminish your enthusiasm for this terrific profile of Jen-Hsun “Jensen” Huang, the tattooed CEO and co-founder of the semiconductor and software company Nvidia, who comes in at number one. While Nvidia doesn’t have the headline-grabbing style of an Apple or Uber, it certainly deserves to; it’s been growing profits at better than 50% annually and its share price has risen from $30 to above $200 in two years.

You can see where the company ranks in terms of diversity in the tech sector here. (They also recently participated in Calvert’s Diversity Report, which examines the diversity practices of companies within the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index and the S&P 250. While they were not individually scored, the scoring practices described are fascinating.)

From Andrew Nusca’s cover story:

Most Fortune 500 CEOs over 50 don’t have tattoos, let alone of the logos of the companies they run. But Huang, who was born in Taiwan, isn’t most Fortune 500 CEOs. For starters, he’s the rare cofounder still running his company 24 years later. He is both a trained electrical engineer (Oregon State; Stanford), and a formidable executive who leads employees with encouragement, inquiry, and often flurries of vacation emails. (Sent during his, not theirs.) And he is, according to many people in the industry, a visionary who foresaw a blossoming market for a new kind of computing early enough to reposition his company years in advance.

But Huang really excels as a leader who has cultivated a long-standing culture of intellectual rigor, truth, and basic decency:

For a publicly traded technology company with more than 11,000 employees, Nvidia is surprisingly tight-knit. It’s a credit to the many long-serving staffers who remain at the company (badge numbers are issued in serial; the lower the number, the longer the tenure) and the business battles they’ve endured together. It’s also the product of a founder CEO who embraces community, strategic alignment, and a core value system that promotes the pursuit of excellence through intellectual honesty.

All of which they’ll need if they’re going to be designing the algorithms that will run the world. Which, if our charts and graphs are right, they most certainly will be. Enjoy.


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