Grove, who became CEO of the Santa Clara-based firm at the age of 52, was a tech pioneer pivotal in the launch of Intel in 1965. He later helped reposition the company from memory to processor chips.
Born András Gróf in Budapest, Hungary, Grove immigrated to the United States in 1956-57 after having survived Nazi occupation and escaping Soviet repression. He studied chemical engineering at the City College of New York, completing his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1963.
After graduation, he was hired by Gordon Moore, who coined “Moore’s Law,” at Fairchild Semiconductor as a researcher, and rose to assistant head of R&D under Moore. When Noyce and Moore left Fairchild to found Intel in 1968, Grove was their first hire. Grove became Intel’s President in 1979 and CEO in 1987. He served as Chairman of the Board from 1997 to 2005.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Intel Chairman and CEO Andy Grove,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in a company statement. “Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders.”
He was “an influential, outspoken industry figure” who “gives new meaning to the phrase hands-on manager,” Chief Executive magazine wrote about the larger-than-life figure in November 1987. Back then, after being bloodied by the worst slump in its history, Grove said that U.S. semiconductor makers would have to be “agile giants” and pugnacious protectors of their technology. He clearly served in this role throughout his entire career at Intel.
“In addition to being widely quoted from his seminal book “Only the Paranoid Survive,” a testament to not resting on one’s laurels, Grove was widely known for his long-term perspective on market disruptions,” notes J.P. Donlon, Editor Emeritus at Chief Executive Group and Chief Executive magazine. “He called them inflection points which were points in time when market forces abruptly shift exposing companies that may have been over invested in technologies facing eclipse.”
Here are a few well-known quotes from Grove’s book, that offer sage advice to all CEOs:
“If you’re wrong, you will die. But most companies don’t die because they are wrong; most die because they don’t commit themselves. They fritter away their valuable resources while attempting to make a decision. The greatest danger is in standing still.”
“Admitting that you need to learn something new is always difficult. It is even harder if you are a senior manager who is accustomed to the automatic deference which people accord you owing to your position. But if you don’t fight it, that very deference may become a wall that isolates you from learning new things. It all takes self-discipline.”
“The person who is the star of previous era is often the last one to adapt to change, the last one to yield to logic of a strategic inflection point and tends to fall harder than most.”
“The Lesson is, we all need to expose ourselves to the winds of change.”
Grove’s legacy of leadership will surely live on for many years to come.