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Intel's Andy Grove: Champion of diversity and corporate governance

Over the past 15 years Andy Grove worked tirelessly to make Intel into a model of corporate governance with a diverse board and the appointment of senior female execs.

Intel yesterday announced that Andrew Grove, its former CEO and Chairman, had died aged 79.

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I met several times with Andy Grove when I worked at the Financial Times and became a great admirer of his work at Intel. I saw him for the last time in September 2015, at a Churchill Club event honoring his long career and contributions to Silicon Valley. Grove was looking very frail and his Parkinson's Disease was very pronounced.

While much has been written about his time at Intel and his rise to the CEO and Chairman positions, very few know about his work over the past 15 years in remaking Intel into a model of corporate governance and improving diversity inside Intel.

He remade Intel's board of directors, making sure it was truly independent, and packed with diversity. Grove's influence is seen in Intel's separation of CEO, President and Chairman positions -- which is atypical in tech companies.

His goal was to build a world-class advisory group for the CEO, and a strong belief that great corporate governance would yield good things for Intel's shareholders. It's an investment for which Intel has yet to receive a boost in valuation from Wall Street.

Intel's board of directors earned a perfect score from GovernanceMetrics International. Only 21 other company boards have received this recognition.

Grove's influence and focus on diversity led to the appointment in May 2013 of Renée James as President, essentially a co-CEO position with Brian Krzanich. Ms. James worked as Technical Assistant (TA) to Mr Grove for four years -- a traditional fast-track path for senior Intel execs. She left Intel in January 2016.

Andy Grove's legacy is immense and his influence in Silicon Valley and beyond has been extraordinary.