Andy Grove, the refugee from Hungary who became one of the pillars of Silicon Valley and, as both scientist and executive, was a principal figure in the rise of the Intel Corp. and a symbol of the world-wide computer revolution, died Monday. He was 79.
The death was announced on the company’s website. It did not give a cause or a location. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
In a statement, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said that Mr. Grove “made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders.”
Mr. Grove was recognized as a leader in one of the world’s great periods of technical and social transformation.It saw the rise of the personal computer and the development and expansion of the Internet, and indeed, the creation of Silicon Valley with all that it came to embody in reality and in the imagination.
In 1979, he became president of Intel, one of the companies most prominently identified with the widespread adoption of computers throughout the world.
He became the company’s chief executive in 1987 and was chairman of the board from 1997 to 2005.
A man renowned for accomplishments in science, technology and management, Mr. Grove had a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the City College of New York and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.
Although his academic training and early career were skewed toward the technical, he was credited with qualities of personality that made him adept at the role of manager as well.
“He combined the analytic approach of a scientist with an ability to engage others in honest and deep conversation,” Intel Chairman Andy Bryant said.
By themselves, the titles of the books he published over the years made evident the breadth of his talents and interests. An early work, published in 1967 and intended as a college text, was called “Physics and Technology of Semiconductor Devices.”
As his role expanded and evolved, the titles of his books reflected it: He dealt with business leadership in “High Output Management” (1983) and “Only the Paranoid Survive” (1999).
Known for keeping his company not only afloat but thriving and explosively growing amid the fast pace, fierce competition and constant change of the computer revolution, Mr. Grove became identified with the link between paranoia and survival.
It was expressed succinctly in this quotation attributed to him: “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”
At one time known for its memory chips, Intel evolved into one of the foremost producers of microprocessors, components that propelled the widespread adoption of computers and their ever skyrocketing power.
Now virtually a household name, Intel consisted only of its two founders, Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, when Mr. Grove became their first employee. The three had been at Fairchild Semiconductor.
“In various bits and pieces,” Mr. Grove was quoted as saying, “we have steered Intel from a start-up to one of the central companies of the information economy.” Its first-year revenue was said to be less than $3,000.
While he was chief executive of Intel, the company became one of the major American industrial success stories, and its shares became avidly sought by investors. It enjoyed wild popularity even though most of its revenue was channeled into research and development rather than its shareholders’ pockets.
The overriding aim was to turn out microprocessors that were continually faster and better than any competitor’s.
As the company turned out such products as the celebrated Pentium chip, which has been a mainstay of the personal computer, revenue grew, according to the company, from just under $2 billion to more than $26 billion.
Difficulties, even crises, were not unknown during Mr. Grove’s tenure. At times disaster seemed to loom. Even Pentium had its problems, with what has been described as a flaw that proved far more significant than the company was at first willing to acknowledge. But the hard-driving Mr. Grove appeared to deploy a willingness to learn,change and take risks, that successfully steered his company past the pitfalls. .
Investors seemed to respond well to Mr. Grove’s vision. Intel’s market capitalization during his tenure was reported to have reached almost $200 billion, almost a fiftyfold increase.
It was described as the seventh-largest company in the world, by some criteria, and employed 64,000.
As Intel’s chief, Mr. Grove was known as an unpretentious leader — with a 72-square-foot office — and a sternly, even harshly demanding one. Described as a restless man, focused on the new, he seemed determined not to rest on his rags-to-riches accomplishments or to permit his company to become complacent about its achievements.
If he seemed compelled to look upon the future as a time beset by uncertainty, he could look back at a past that had more than its share.
Andrew S. Grove was born into a middle-class Jewish family on Sept. 2 1936, in Budapest, a little more than two years before World War II threw Europe into turmoil. His friends knew him as Andris Grof. The name was changed in America.
When the Nazis occupied Hungary, he and his mother assumed false identities and were taken in by friends to keep them from the labor camps. After the war, Hungary was ruled by repressive Communist regimes, and during an uprising against one of them, he escaped to the West in 1956.
Settling in New York, he set about learning English and embarking on the path that would lead to fame. The climb was steep. An early job was as a busboy. His wife, Eva, also a refugee, was a waitress when they met. They married in 1958 and had two daughters. Eventually, Mr. Grove was able to bring his parents to the United States.
After leaving Intel, Mr. Grove became involved with philanthropy. In retirement, he advocated for medical research, among other causes. He provided millions of dollars to help found the Grove School of Engineering at New York’s City College, where he got his intellectual start.
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