From time to time we feature a member of our US based alumni community. We hope this serves as a way to stay in touch and get to know one another despite the grand size of the US.
Alumnus and AFAM board member Claude Leglise (AN 74) is our next AFAM member profile.
Thank you Claudefor sharing with us!
1. Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?
I had a 23-year career at Intel riding the growth wave of the PC industry in three phases: first in marketing, then in general management, finally in venture capital. In 2007, I started a solar electricity services company with a long-time friend of mine. Today, I split my time between several activities: the solar company that is still operating, innovation management consulting for research institutions, a directorship of a public semiconductor company, and advisory jobs for several start-ups. I am also trying to start a cancer research center in China.
2. What do you do every day at work? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?
As you can guess from my various jobs, there is never a typical day. I jump around between tasks; it is really a lot like the Gadz’Arts training where I learned about pumps, computers, foundry and pre-stressed concrete. Having a generalist’s education allows me to get involved in many different domains, and also to recognize when I need to hire experts.
3. How did you come to the US- why and when? How is your work life different than in France?
I came to the US two years after graduating from A&M to go to business school at Stanford, and I never went back. With a degree in engineering and one in business, it was easy to find a job in Silicon Valley. I did not work in France long enough to know for sure how different things are. Here I enjoy the freedom and the trust employers give employees, in particular the much lower importance of the school and the degree one has attended, and the focus on results. Of course, with Silicon Valley at the center of the computer and communications revolution of the past 30 years, I could not have the jobs I had if I had remained in France.
4. What is the best advice someone ever gave you? Why?
In the mid-90s, I wanted to start a new Intel activity to work with the software industry, and I was being cautious about goals and spending. Andy Grove, who was the CEO, told me: “I would rather have you spend $50M and win, than spend $40M and finish second.” This is a lesson I have applied ever since, in my business and personal life.
5. What is one favorite way to spend your free time (hobbies, weekend activities)?
When I don’t race Porsches with the local club, I spend time on my garden railroad (which by the way leverages most of my Gadz’Arts skills). I also enjoy traveling and photography. In our spare time, my wife and I are learning Chinese.
Thank you again to Claude for sharing his experience and thoughts on life in the USA for Gadz'Arts! AFAM is grateful for your support.