Kenneth F. Siebel

Kenneth F. Siebel begins with a discussion of his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin. Shortly after earning his MBA Siebel formed his own investment banking firm Robertson, Coleman, and Siebel in 1969. While building it into a highly successful firm, he underwrote many now famous technology companies. The conversation then turns to Siebel's commitment to conservation and his involvement in Conservation International. It was through Conservation International that Siebel became friends with another board member, Gordon E. Moore. Finally, the interview focuses on the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, from its launch through Siebel's presentday involvement as a board member. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0361
No. of pages: 18
Minutes: 63

Interview Sessions

David C. Brock
26 April 2007
Larkspur, California

Abstract of Interview

Kenneth F. Siebel begins the interview with a discussion of his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin and his enrollment in graduate business studies at the same institution after abandoning professional basketball. MBA in hand, Siebel began working for Smith Barney but shortly formed his own investment banking firm Robertson, Coleman, and Siebel in 1969. While building it into a highly successful firm, he underwrote many now famous technology companies and learned the technology sector. From 1977 onward, Siebel parlayed the lessons of the 1970s into his own money management firm. The conversation then turns to Siebel's commitment to conservation and his involvement in Conservation International, for which he expresses many accolades in pioneering new conservation techniques, notably through the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science. It was through Conservation International that Siebel became friends with another board member, Gordon E. Moore, whose credibility and financial support, Siebel suggests, have greatly expanded Conservation International's efforts. Siebel then expresses ideas on addressing a future challenge of conservation groups: the need to collaborate effectively. Finally, the interview focuses on the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, from its launch through Siebel's present-day involvement as a board member. Siebel praises Gordon E. Moore's unique approach to tackling issues that can be effectively handled, like the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative. Siebel still sees more challenges for conservation ahead, but believes the involvement of the Moore children on the foundation's board will keep it anchored to Gordon and Betty Moore's values and approach. Siebel concludes the exchange with some closing comments on Gordon E. Moore. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
University of Wisconsin, Madison BA Business Administration
1965 University of Wisconsin, Madison MBA Business Administration

Professional Experience

Smith Barney

1965 to 1969

Robertson, Coleman and Siebel

1969 to 1977

Siebel Capital Management

1977 to 2008

Honors

Year(s) Award
1987

Board member, Conservation International

2002

Board member, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Table of Contents

Education and Early Career
1

Choosing University of Wisconsin. Athletic scholarship. Majoring in business. Leaving professional basketball tryouts. Attending University of Wisconsin for MBA. Hired by Smith Barney. Moved to San Francisco in 1966.

Robertson, Coleman, and Siebel
2

Formed investment banking firm in 1969. Underwriting technology companies. Building the firm into the best outside New York. Starting money management firm in 1977. Learning the technology sector. Relationship of investment banking and venture capital. Managing money with the market volatility of the 1970s.

Conservation International
5

Joining the board on start-up in 1987. Childhood in the outdoors. Ranch owner. Peter Seligmann and formation of Conservation International. Changes to conservation thanks to Conservation International. Ecotourism. Center for Applied Biodiversity Science.

Gordon E. Moore and Conservation International
7

Praise for Gordon E. Moore. Moore's support and credibility. Geographical areas of support for Conservation International. Center for Applied Biodiversity Science and need to coordinate conservation groups. Idea for grantors to insist on collaboration of conservation groups.

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
10

Lew Coleman. Foundation launch. Joining the foundation's board of directors. Foundation's pledge to Conservation International. Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative. Gordon E. Moore's approach to conservation. Involvement of Moore children on foundation board. Edward E. Penhoet. Challenges ahead.

Conclusion
15

Closing thoughts on Gordon E. Moore.

Index
16

About the Interviewer

David C. Brock

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.

In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.