Oral history interview with Craig R. Barrett

  • 2005-Dec-14
  • 2006-Mar-23

Craig R. Barrett begins the interview by describing his family background and the origins of the "Barrett" last name. Influenced by his biological father, Barrett gravitated towards the outdoors and had to choose between attending university or becoming a forest ranger. After being accepted to Stanford University, Barrett chose to major in metallurgical engineering. Upon graduation, Barrett decided to stay at Stanford and continued on to receive his master's and doctoral degrees at the institution. Barrett then spent a year in the National Physical Laboratory in England as a postdoctoral fellow before returning to Stanford as an assistant professor. While teaching at Stanford, Barrett consulted for Fairchild Semiconductors which laid the groundwork for his future career at Intel. Frustrated with basic research, Barrett jumped at the chance to take a temporary leave of absence to join the Intel R&D department. Returning to Stanford after a year long hiatus, Barrett realized his zeal for applied research and returned to Intel for a permanent position to run the Reliability Engineering department. Barrett then described Intel work culture at the time and working dynamics of senior management personnel such as Andy Grove, Les Vadasz, Gordon Moore, and Robert Noyce. Then in the 1980s, Barrett was selected to be in charge of two major division relocations from Santa Clara, California to Arizona. In 1984, Barrett's promotion to vice president signaled Intel's commitment to the manufacturing division and coincided with the company's shift from memory to microprocessor manufacturing. Barrett then described his career rise to senior vice president, executive vice president, and eventually to chief executive office and president. He concludes the interview by offering thoughts on Intel's future direction; reflection on Gordon Moore's contributions to the development of Intel and the industry; and thoughts on how to keep the US technologically competitive in the world.

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