Andy Grove, tech legend and former Intel CEO, passes away

Andrew Grove was the company's third employee and first hire.

Intel's former CEO and Chairman Andrew S. Grove has passed away today, March 21st. He was 79 years old. The company owes much of its success to Grove, who was the company founders' first hire. Back in the day, Intel used to manufacture memory chips (DRAMs), but it was forced to change directions when Japanese imports made them available at much lower prices. Grove was one of the company executives who steered Intel towards microprocessors and who convinced IBM to use their products exclusively.

The company made the 386 and Pentium processors, which Intel says "helped usher in the PC era," under his auspices. It was also under his leadership when the corporation's yearly revenues swelled from $1.9 billion to over $26 billion. That's why he was once described as ''a guy who drove the growth phase of Silicon Valley." Intel's current Chairman Andy Bryant said his predecessor was an effective leader because he "combined the analytic approach of a scientist with an ability to engage others in honest and deep conversation."

That said, it wasn't always smooth sailing for Intel when Grove was at the helm. He once brushed off concerns regarding a flaw in the Pentium processor, and it cost Intel half a billion to fix the issue. The man was also criticized for being too intense and demanding as a leader. Still, his tremendous contributions to the industry and his role in the rise of personal computing are undeniable and will continue to inspire generations of entrepreneurs and tech bigwigs.