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Grove, Andrew S. - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Social and Economic Impact, Chronology: Andrew S. Grove

intel computers ceo business

Intel Corporation


Andy Grove is a cofounder and chairman of the Intel Corporation, which supplies over 90 percent of the microprocessors used in the world’s computers. Under his guidance, the company switched from being a supplier of memory chips in the early 1980s to the powerhouse builder of computer “brains.” This decision made Intel one of the major players in ushering in the Information Age that has transformed almost every field of endeavor around the globe.

Personal Life

Andrew S. Grove was born Andras Grof in Budapest, Hungary, on September 2, 1936. His father, George Grof, was a self-taught man who owned a dairy business, and his mother, Maria Grof, was a bookkeeper. As a child, Grove almost died from scarlet fever and suffered a middle-ear infection which damaged his hearing, but he later was able to undergo surgery to correct the problem. In 1944 during World War II, Grove’s father was sent to a labor camp, where he endured typhoid fever and pneumonia, while Grove and his mother obtained false papers and hid with a Christian family. He had to remember a new name (Andras Malesevics) and be careful to give it, instead of his real name, if asked.

Grove’s father survived the camp and the family was reunited. However, post-war conditions in Europe were difficult. Communists took over Hungary, food and fuel were scarce, and Grove was under scrutiny for being Jewish and the son of a business owner. But he studied hard, determined to make it to college. He joined a youth newspaper at age 14 and was passionate about journalism, but was cast out when one of his relatives was imprisoned without a trial. Grove decided that writing was too subjective and politically tainted, so he switched to the pursuit of science.

Grove went on to college and excelled at chemistry. In 1956, however the Soviet Union’s Red Army invaded Budapest to squash a brewing revolution and prop up a puppet regime. Grove, as a university student, was worried that he would be arrested, so he and a friend fled to Austria. Because the Red Army was moving in the same direction, they paid a smuggler to move them along the back trails to the border.

Grove later boarded a refugee ship bound for the United States with only $20 in his pocket when he arrived in New York City. He changed his name to Andrew Grove and lived with his aunt and uncle in Brooklyn. Enrolling at the City College of New York, he studied engineering and concentrated on learning English thoroughly—looking up unfamiliar words each night in the dictionary. In 1960, only three years after arriving, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Grove went on to obtain his doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, finishing in just three years.

Grove met his wife, Eva Kastan (also a Hungarian refugee), during a summer job while they were both waiting tables at a resort. They married on June 8, 1958, and have two daughters. Grove became a naturalized American citizen in 1962. The five-foot, nine-inch Grove pulled through a bout with prostate cancer in 1996 and stays fit. He works out each morning and enjoys biking, skiing, jogging, kayaking, swimming, and dancing; he also has maintained a lifelong passion for opera. In addition to his duties at Intel, he teaches a popular business course at Stanford University and is known for his nervous energy, his embrace of change, and his relentless drive.

Grove has received numerous awards throughout his distinguished career. Some of his honors include a medal from the American Institute of Chemists (1960); two medals from the City College of New York (1980 and 1995); the Enterprise Award from the Professional Advertising Association (1987); and the George Washington Award from the American Hungarian Foundation (1990). In addition, in 1993 Grove was given the Achievement Medal from the American Electronics Association and named Executive of the Year by the University of Arizona. He was named a Fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and the following year was awarded the Heinz Family Foundation Award for Technology and the Economy and the John von Neumann medal from the American Hungarian Association. Grove was presented the Statesman of the Year Award from Harvard Business School in 1996, and he was Time ‘s Man of the Year and CEO Magazine ’s CEO of the Year in 1997.

Career Details

Because Grove had been such a standout while pursuing his Ph.D., he had many job offers upon his graduation in 1963. He was hired at Fairchild Camera and Instrument, which would later be renamed Fairchild Semiconductor, becoming assistant director of research and development in 1967. There he worked with Robert Noyce, the inventor of the integrated circuit, which was a breakthrough in computer chip design. Gordon E. Moore was also on board as head of research and development. At Fairchild, Grove developed a reputation for his research and technical work as well as for his business skills of communication, organization, and leadership. It was no surprise when he was asked to be part of an exciting new venture.

In July of 1968, Grove, Noyce, and Moore founded Intel Corporation (short for integrated electronics) in California’s Silicon Valley. The company produced memory chips for the large mainframe computers of the time. Grove was originally supposed to head up the engineering department, but the small size of the firm made it necessary for him to act as chief of operations as well. Workers often were at the office until midnight, and Grove became known as a demanding, tough-minded manager. Before surgery corrected his hearing problem, Grove was also known to claim that his hearing aid failed him when he disliked the subject of conversation, or he would take the device off altogether to indicate that he was no longer in the mood to listen. He did not tolerate tardiness, and once sent out a notice that employees were required to work a full day on Christmas Eve. The “Scrooge memo,” as it was known, caused hostility among workers, one of whom, according to Current Biography, returned the memo with the comment, “May you eat yellow snow.”

Grove was promoted to company president in 1979. Despite his often gruff tactics, employees respected Grove for his intellect, problem-solving skills, and encouragement. He rejected special treatment, working in the same eight-by-nine foot cubicle as the rest of the company, taking lunch in the cafeteria, and insisting that people call him Andy. Newsmakers quoted a summary of his management style given in the Los Angeles Times: “He combines a professorial love of intellectual exchange with an insistence on discipline and a take-no-prisoners attitude toward the competition.” In addition to over 40 technical papers and a 1967 textbook called Physics and the Technology of Semiconductor Devices, Grove in 1983 wrote High Output Management, which has been translated into 11 languages. He also wrote Only the Paranoid Survive in 1996.

Grove’s contribution to the growth of personal computers is enormous. Originally Intel had focused on producing memory chips, but in the early 1980s began to suffer at the hands of Japanese competitors. In 1985 Grove proposed that Intel switch its core business to microprocessors and laid off 6,000 workers. It began making faster and faster chips; after the early and slow 286 chips, it made the 386, 386SX, 486, and then the Pentium and Pentium II chips that were accepted as the industry standard. The motto “Intel Inside” was noted on all computers with its chips. Grove was named chief executive officer (CEO) of Intel in 1987 and became chairman and CEO in 1997.

Just over a decade after Grove became CEO, company revenue had increased tenfold, to more than $25 billion. In May of 1998, he stepped down as CEO, and company president Craig Barrett took the position, but Grove remained chairman. He told Business Week, “I was ready to change my routine. I’ll have more leeway in my schedule.” He said he planned to investigate the future of networking, as well as the use of computers in business, marketing, information, and entertainment.

Social and Economic Impact

Almost every aspect of modern life has been affected by computer technology. Grove, as head of the Intel Corporation, has played an integral role in the resulting massive restructuring of the global economy and daily lives in both developed and developing countries.

Chronology: Andrew S. Grove

1936: Born.

1956: Moved to United States from Hungary.

1963: Received Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

1967: Became assistant director of research and development at Fairchild Semiconductor.

1968: Helped found Intel.

1983: Wrote High Output Management.

1987: Became CEO of Intel.

1997: Became chairman and CEO of Intel.

1997: Named Time ’s Man of the Year.

1998: Stepped down as CEO of Intel; continued as chairman.

In the 1960s, some businesses used mainframe computers, which often took up an entire room or more and operated on binary punch cards. Today, it is difficult to find any business that does not use at least one computer for some aspect of its operations, and it is impossible to precisely measure the immense boost in productivity. What used to take days, such as searching for a piece of research, may now take minutes or seconds. Home lives are different as well. In 1997 Grove estimated in Billboard, “There are probably 40 to 60 million multimedia computers in people’s homes. And the number is growing by 25 to 30 million a year.” And the technology has become more and more powerful. In the early days of personal computers in the 1980s, simple orange or blue text on a dark screen was an amazing feat. During the next decade, machines were able to store and play music, three-dimensional graphics, and fully animated video images. Running the World Wide Web and e-mail are now a must, and even home users can print out photo-quality full-color pictures.

Alhough in 1994 Intel came under heavy fire when it was discovered that its Pentium chip had a bug that caused some mathematical calculations to fail, the company quickly recovered. In March of 1997 David S. Jackson reported in Time, “Intel CEO Andy Grove is already providing computer chips for 80 percent of the world’s personal computers. This year he’s aiming for the remaining 20 percent.” Sure enough, by April of 1998, U.S. News & World Report claimed that Intel was up to 90 percent of the market share. However, Intel began suffering some setbacks. In June of 1998 the FTC began pursuing possible antitrust actions against Intel, while software giant Microsoft was in the midst of a government antitrust suit as well. Since the two firms so thoroughly dominated the computer industry, they were often referred to collectively as “Wintel.” Also, due to a lag in demand for new computers, Intel announced in April of 1998 that it would lay off 3,000 workers. If Grove’s tough-as-nails attitude remains a part of Intel, it will be prepared to weather the economic and legal bumps and remain a major force in the technological and economic future, continuing to produce the tiny chips that change lives.

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over 4 years ago

The space inside is just incredibly uplifting and coupled with the exhibition of models and sculptures make a stand-out pavilion.http://www.vitiligonatural.com/

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over 4 years ago

I was personally impressed of the life and career of Andy. His determination was great that he was able to move on despite of pressing challenges and difficulties he underwent from Hungary to NY and grow from there! He is one of the great man that changed the world of communication and information. Jess

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almost 6 years ago

Andrew S. Grove bio