Andy Grove had three simple words yesterday to explain his decision to step down as CEO of Intel Corp. "I was ready," Grove said in an interview with ZDNN. Grove plans to use his new-found free time to study issues that would benefit not just Intel, but the PC industry as a whole.
He chose to step down as CEO, turning the position over to President and Chief Operating Officer Craig Barrett, because he felt he had served out his term. "I have been CEO for 11 years, president for 19. Intel's 30 years old, and I'm the third CEO. I have done my tenure a little above the average," he said. "I was ready."
Grove said there was no particular incident that sparked the decision. He wouldn't speculate as to who will replace Barrett in the COO position. "When I was promoted from COO to CEO, we didn't have a COO for five years or so," he said. "We've got to digest the change and Craig's got to think about who he wants."
By turning over the day to day tasks to Barrett, Grove frees up his time to study. "I have responsibilities inside pertinent to running of the company that I have to do. Financial reviews, strategic reviews, preparations for this and that. That constrains how much attention I can give to external issues and how much responsiveness I can muster."
The top three issues he thinks need studying are bandwidth, network applications, and "the delivery of network computing products and services" to small businesses, an area which he says the computer industry hasn't paid nearly enough attention to.
"The information technology industry was developed by large companies for large companies, and the benefits have accrued to large corporations for some time," he said. "Spreading those benefits around and incorporating and invoking small businesses is a major challenge."