Pat Gelsinger

Tony Avelar—Bloomberg via Getty Images
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At his company’s annual customer conference in August, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, 57, was sporting what he called a “badass tattoo” showing off the name of the company he’s run since 2012. Turns out it was a gag, just a temporary tattoo, but Gelsinger’s accomplishments this year are anything but a joke. Fighting to keep the company’s virtualization apps relevant in an age of cloud computing, Gelsinger is focusing on helping customers improve security and manage apps and data across multiple cloud vendors. Revenue rose 13% in the first half of the year to $4.2 billion, while net income gained 144% to $1.6 billion. It’s fitting that after scaling such heights, the CEO this summer scaled Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a girls’ school in Kenya.