Andy Grove’s passing last week has already elicited many tributes and rightfully so he lived a remarkable life—the early part was characterized by survival. In his words: “By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation…a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint… Some two hundred thousand Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.” He went on to become Intel employee number three and eventually rose to become CEO and Chairman. His tenure as CEO was marked by unparalleled success for Intel characterized by a compound annual growth rate of almost 30% but also featured several near failures that Intel was able to overcome.
In the vernacular of The River Group, Andy Grove was someone “who got it.” He had the ability to blend his views on leadership, strategic planning and execution with a talent framework that enabled Intel to thrive during his tenure. Three particular aspects of his legacy—his personal leadership, focus on innovation, and Intel’s adaptive culture—provide a unique perspective on how he built one of the most successful companies in the world during his tenure.