The former chairman and CEO of Intel, Andrew S Grove, has died at the age of 79.
Grove is regarded as one of the architects of Intel's success, masterminding the move towards micro-processors as a staple and negotiating an exclusive deal with IBM.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Intel chairman and CEO Andy Grove. Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said current Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
Grove was Intel's first employee in 1968 as the firm was being founded. Under his guidance, Intel increased annual revenues from $1.9bn to $26bn. He was also responsible for the development of the 386 and Pentium chips seen as pivotal in the history of the modern PC.
He once said in an interview with Industry Week: "In various bits and pieces, we have steered Intel from a startup to one of the central companies of the information economy."
Grove was born in 1937 as András Gróf. He survived Nazi occupation and communist rule in his native Hungary before coming to America in the 1960s. He completed a PhD in 1963, despite not being able to speak English when he arrived.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is said to have "idolised" Grove, not least for his futurism.
Grove told researchers at the Intel Architecture Lab in Oregon, which he created: "You are making decisions about what the information technology world will want five years into the future."
Known for working from a cubicle alongside his workers instead of a corner office, Grove was praised for his open style of communication and for valuing the input of everyone. He told Esquire magazine in 2000 that tolerance for new people was important and that immigrants are what made America what it is.
He spurned executive washrooms and flash company cars, making himself an equal to his employees in the belief that this was the best way to lead by example.
“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 won countless awards, including Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1996, and an IEEE medal of honour in 2000. The Wharton School of Business recognised him in 2004 as the Most Influential Business Person of the Last 25 Years.
He wrote a number of books about computing and management which were seen as bibles for many executives in the tech industry and beyond.
One title, Only the Paranoid Survive, was also his personal motto, with a belief that every detail needed to be scrutinised and re-scrutinised. He was often heard to paraphrase it as "the devil is in the details".
His managers were encouraged to embrace and prepare for change, testing and experimenting with new styles and techniques, but always with a 360-degree vision of what the risks and rewards could be.
Grove was diagnosed with prostate cancer in his later years but still contributed to white papers and studies within the Intel infrastructure, by this time with a far wider remit than ever before. Even after stepping down from the board in 2005, he couldn't help keeping his hand in with the company.
He is survived by his wife Eva of 58 years, two daughters and eight grandchildren. He beat prostate cancer using an unconventional but ultimately successful alternative treatment, which was typical of the way he lived his life and ran his company.
In later years he also did a great deal for good causes, contributing to research into prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease (from which he also suffered) and donating $26m to the City of New York to create what became the Grove School of Engineering.
This variety of projects speaks volumes about a company that continues to experiment and innovate in just the way Grove intended, and stands as a testament to his creation.
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