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City College alumni, co-founder and CEO of Intel, dies at age 79

Andrew Stephen Grove, the former CEO and Chairman of Intel, passed away on March 21, 2016, at the age of 79. The company has not released any information regarding the cause of his death.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Grove was born on Sep. 2, 1936, in Budapest, Hungary. He survived the Nazi occupation despite his Jewish heritage, and lived through the Soviet Union’s suppression of the Hungarian revolt in 1956. During this time, Grove’s family immigrated to the United States. There, he anglicized his name and settled in New York City.

“[Grove’s] character traits are emblematic of this amazing century: a paranoia bred from his having been a refugee from the Nazis and then the Communists; an entrepreneurial optimism instilled as an immigrant to a land brimming with freedom and opportunity; and a sharpness tinged with arrogance that comes from being a brilliant mind on the front line of a revolution,” Time wrote after picking Grove as its 1997 Man of the Year.

Grove attended the City College of New York and earned a degree in chemical engineering in 1960. He went on to get a Ph.D. in the same degree from University of California, Berkeley.

The Hungarian-born businessman left his home country at the age of 20, eventually making it to the United States in 1957.
The Hungarian-born businessman left his home country at the age of 20, eventually making it to the United States in 1957. Source:

Prior to working for Intel, Grove spent four years working at Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, a company that deals with electronics. It is one of the first companies to manufacture the transistor, a device that controls electrical signals and integrated circuits, which are also known as chips. When Grove joined Intel in 1968, the company was still in its early stages. The only other two employees were the company’s founders, Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce.

“If Intel were going to be managed—and if it were not it was doomed—the responsibility flowed down to [Grove],” Richard S. Tedlow, author of Grove’s biography titled, The Life and Times of an American, explained in an interview. “Grove knew nothing about managing a business and, in his own words, ‘I was scared to death. It was terrifying. I literally had nightmares. I was supposed to be the director of engineering, but there were so few of us that they made me director of operations.’”

Three years after the company’s inception, Intel managed to produce the first microprocessor. The microchip that the company produced in 1978 was used by the International Business Machines Corporation in its first PC.

Under his tenure as the company’s president and CEO, Grove managed to expand the popularity of Intel microprocessors, which, by the late 1980s, could be found in 85 percent of the world’s PCs.

“Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologies, entrepreneurs and business leaders,” Intel’s current CEO, Brian Krzanich, said. Grove spent 37 years with the company before stepping down from his position as Chairman of the Board in 2005.

In his free time, Grove was an author. His two most popular books centered on his experience with Intel.In High Output Management, which was published in 1995, Grove discussed the importance of management in building and running a business. Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company was released in 1999. The book focused on dealing with big changes within a business, which he referred to as “Strategic Inflection Points.” Rather than simply adjusting to change, Grove informed the reader of how these changes could be used to a business’s benefit.

He also wrote a memorable essay titled, How America Can Create Jobs, which was published on Bloomberg. In this 2010 piece, Grove expressed a well-known but often ignored opinion that the Silicon Valley is no longer producing startups that “scale up” in the United States. Instead, he proposed that new businesses prefer to come up with a strategy to get cheap labor elsewhere. For example, he highlighted that “manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is about 166,000, lower than it was before the first PC … was assembled in 1975.”

In comparison, the number of manufacturing employees in Asia stood at 1.5 million. The region’s largest company, Foxconn, earned revenues of $62 billion in 2009 and $132.5 billion in 2014. When the essay was written, Foxconn was producing some of the most popular products used in the United States, including iPhones, Intel motherboards and Xbox 360 consoles.

Grove was also eager to spend his wealth on worthy causes. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he donated to the cause and urged professions to research the disease. He also contributed $26 million to create City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering.

“Grove is a magnetic man,” Tedlow highlighted in the interview. “It is impossible … to have spent as much time with him as I did and have immersed himself as completely as I did in this project without developing feelings of admiration and affection.”

April 4, 2016

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