Andy Grove, the man who was largely responsible for turning Intel's attention from memory chips to microprocessors, is dead at the age of 79, Intel announced on Monday. Though now gone, Grove leaves behind a legacy that helped shape the PC and semiconductor markets into what they are today.
Grove was born in Budapest, Hungary. He immigrated to the United States in 1956-7 after having survived Nazi occupation and escaped Soviet repression. After arriving in the U.S., he studied chemical engineering at the City College of New York before completing his Ph.D at the University of California at Berkeley in 1963.
His path to Intel started with Gordon Moore, who hired Grove to work as a researcher at Fairchild Semiconductor. Grove left an impression on Moore, and when Moore and Robert Noyce left to found Intel in 1968, Grove was their first hire. However, Grove is known for so much more than simply being Intel's first employee.
Grove became Intel's President in 1979 and CEO in 1987. He also served as Chairman of the Board from 1997 to 2005. It was under Grove's leadership that Intel produced semiconductors, including the 386 and Pentium, which in turn helped create a vast market for PCs. And from strictly a financial standpoint, Intel's annual revenues grew from $1.9 billion to over $26 billion when Grove was in charge.
Part of the reason for Grove's success is that he didn't simply toe the line. Grove was both blunt and honest, never afraid to speak his mind, and of course highly intelligent.
"Andy approached corporate strategy and leadership in ways that continue to influence prominent thinkers and companies around the world," said Intel Chairman Andy Bryant. "He combined the analytic approach of a scientist with an ability to engage others in honest and deep conversation, which sustained Intel’s success over a period that saw the rise of the personal computer, the Internet and Silicon Valley."
Grove is survived by his wife, Eva, two children, and eight grandchildren.