Meet Amd's Rags To Riches Heir Apparent

Why the chipmaker's overachieving president, Hector Ruiz, should worry Intel

When Hector de Jesus Ruiz was growing up in the 1950s in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras, just across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass, Tex., his ambitions were as modest as his upbringing. He played guitar in a rock-and-roll foursome called The Teenagers and dreamed of being an auto mechanic. "I just wanted to have fun," he says. Instead, at the age of 15, Ruiz met a local missionary who offered English tutoring in exchange for housework. A short time later, she persuaded him to attend the high school in Eagle Pass. For the next 18 months, he walked 45 minutes each way across the border every day to study in America. By graduation, he was named valedictorian of the senior class.

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