Over the last month, I have been doing many interviews to help promote my book, The Flight of a Wild Duck, published on September 1st. One of my favorite interviews was . It is long but lots of fun. Most of my interviews have been enjoyable, but this one has a super amount of energy due to the host’s personality, Christopher Lochhead. I do hope you enjoy listening to it here.
However, I said one thing that would probably get me into “trouble” with some people. I said that I did not think that Andy Grove was a great CEO. I explained why in detail. First of all, I believe that Andy Grove was a great man. I had the fortune to know him rather well. He was remarkable in so many ways. So much has been written about Andy, the man, so that I won’t repeat that here. But Andy failed at succession. I think that several attributes go into making a great CEO, and that is one. He should never have supported Craig Barrett as his successor. Barrett was a great Chief Operating Office but was not the strategic thinker and leader needed as Intel was about to enter into a significant discontinuity driven by the internet. Andy was one of the most outstanding CEOs when it came to execution, but he struggled with a vision about the future. My book goes into that in detail. Yes, under Andy’s watch, Intel grew to become one of the most valuable companies in the world, but then looked at what happened in the next twenty years.
I also said that I thought Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs were great CEOs and gave my reasons. But I also said that I did not care for them as people. I wish there were a high correlation between being a great person and a great CEO, but it does not appear that there is.
Andy is so revered that I expect to get a lot of flack for what I said about him. But knowing Andy, I think if he was around now and could look back, he might agree with me.