Craig R. Barrett

Born: August 29, 1939 | San Francisco, CA, US

After being accepted to Stanford University, Craig R. Barrett chose to major in metallurgical engineering and continued on to receive his master's and doctoral degrees at the institution. He then spent a year in the National Physical Laboratory in England as a postdoctoral fellow before returning to Stanford as an assistant professor. Frustrated with basic research, Barrett jumped at the chance to take a temporary leave of absence to join the Intel R&D department. 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. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0324
No. of pages: 103
Minutes: 349

Interview Sessions

Arnold Thackray and David C. Brock
14 December 2005, 23 March 2006
Santa Clara, California

Abstract of Interview

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. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1957 Stanford University BS Material Science
1961 Stanford University MS Material Science
1964 Stanford University PhD Material Science

Professional Experience

National Physical Laboratory

1964 to 1965
Postdoctoral Fellow

Stanford University

1965 to 1970
Assistant Professor
1970 to 1974
Associate Professor

Danish Technical University

1972 to 1973
Fulbright Fellow

Intel Corporation

1974 to 1984
Technology Development Manager
1984 to 1987
Senior Vice President
1987 to 1990
Executive Vice President
1992 to 2007
Member, Board of Directors
1993 to 1997
Chief Operating Officer
1997 to 2002
President
1998 to 2005
Chief Executive Officer
2005 to 2007
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Honors

Year(s) Award
1969

Robert Lansing Hardy Award

1994

Member, National Academy of Engineering

Table of Contents

Family History and Early Life Experiences
1

Family background and immigration to the United States. Origins of family name and name changes. Father and brother's career. Influences of high school teachers and early aspirations towards a career in forestry. Memories and influence of father.

Education
10

Attending Stanford as an undergraduate. Mentors and state of industry. Materials science department and graduating class. Decision to stay at Stanford for graduate studies. Finding theoretical research topic and funding. NATO postdoctoral fellowship.

Career at Stanford University
23

Moving back to Stanford. Research and teaching load. Local technical community. Nature of outside consulting work. Connection to Fairchild Semiconductors and subsequently Intel Corporation. Frustration with basic research and yearlong sabbatical at Intel. Returning to Stanford and decision to pursue permanent career at Intel.

Early Career at Intel
38

Typical working day. Different roles within Intel. Working with Andrew Grove. Working for Leslie Vadasz. Dynamics between Grove, Gordon Moore, and Robert Noyce. Intel corporate culture and values. Being selected to run newly established Intel division in Arizona. Relocation logistics and process.

Career Development
61

Working in the Reliability Engineering department. Formulation of uniform production processes. Working as Quality Assurance and Purchasing representative with other corporations.

Management Roles
68

Promotion to vice president. Dynamics of management team. Employee work ethics. Intel shifting focus from memory to microprocessor manufacturing. Becoming senior vice president. Origins of "copy exactly" manufacturing practice. Promotion to executive vice president and working relationship with Andy Grove and Gordon Moore. Joining the Board of Directors. Dealing with recession and R&D expenditure. Becoming chief operating officer and president of Intel.

Concluding Thoughts
89

Intel's future direction. Reflection of Gordon Moore's contributions to the development of Intel and the industry. Social interactions with Gordon and Betty Moore. Thoughts on how to keep the U. S. technologically competitive in the world.

Notes
98
Index
99

About the Interviewer

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.