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Andy Grove, Former Intel CEO And Silicon Valley Pioneer, Dies Aged 79

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Death of a tech titan. Silicon Valley mourns after the passing of Andy Grove, Intel mastermind

Chipmaker Intel has announced that former CEO and chairman Andy Grove has died, aged 79 years old.

His death marks the passing of one of the men who led the technology revolution in Silicon Valley over four decades, and who mastermind Intel’s rise to power in the PC market.

PC Legacy

andrew-grove_2-225x300Grove joined Intel in 1968 soon after it was founded by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore. He was technically the third employee of the company, but in reality he was the first hire by the two founders.

Grove later became Intel’s President in 1979 and CEO in 1987. He relinquished the CEO title in 1998 and stayed on as chairman until 2005.
Grove was a noted elder statesman of Silicon Valley, and was one of the most influential figures in technology and business. He also wrote best-selling books and spoke out on an array of prominent public issues, including the slow pace in change in the medical profession.

He was treated for prostrate cancer in the 1990s, but was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2000. Intel became active in this medical field ever since, and in 2014 the chipmaker partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). The deal saw the chipmaker provide Big Data tools to advance the research into the disease

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Intel Chairman and CEO Andy Grove,” said Intel’s current CEO Brian Krzanich. “Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders.”

Grove was born András Gróf in Hungary in 1936. He was Jewish but lived under a false name and endured that country’s occupation by Nazi Germany and then by the Soviet Union. He emigrated to the United States (via Austria) in 1956 where he learned English.

He studied chemical engineering at the City College of New York and later earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1963.

Soon after his graduation, Grove was hired by Gordon Moore 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 was the man who translated the business ideas of Noyce and Moore into a reality. He played a critical role in the decision to move Intel’s focus from memory chips to microprocessors, a move that resulted in Intel domination of the PC market for years to come.

He also led the firm’s transformation into a widely recognised consumer brand, including the use of the “386” chip, “Intel Inside” and Pentium brands. He also championed the manufacturing of chips within the United States, rather than outsource production to the Far East.

Intel still makes most of its chips in the United States to this day.

“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 was married to his wife, Eva, for 58 years, and they had two daughters and eight grandchildren.

Tech Tributes

The passing of a tech titan like Andy Grove drew tributes from across the tech industry.

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