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Craig R. Barrett

  • Born: August 29, 1939, San Francisco, California

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0324
Interview Dates: December 14, 2005 and March 23, 2006
Location: Intel Corporation Headquarters, Santa Clara, California
Interviewers: Arnold Thackray and David C. Brock
No. of pages: 111
Minutes: 349
Sponsor: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

  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 U.S. technologically competitive in the world.


1957 B.S., Material Science, Stanford University
1961 M.S., Material Science, Stanford University
1964 Ph.D., Material Science, Stanford University

  Professional Experience

National Physical Laboratory, UK

1964 - 1965 Postdoctoral Fellow

Stanford University

1965 - 1970 Assistant Professor

Stanford University

1970 - 1974 Associate Professor

Danish Technical University

1972 - 1973 Fulbright Fellow

Intel Corporation

1974 - 1984 Technology Development Manager

Intel Corporation

1984 - 1987 Senior Vice President

Intel Corporation

1987 - 1990 Executive Vice President

Intel Corporation

1992 - present

Member, Board of Directors

Intel Corporation

1993 - 1997 Chief Operating Officer

Intel Corporation

1997 - 2002 President

Intel Corporation

1998 - 2005 Chief Executive Officer

Intel Corporation

2005 - present Chairman of the Board of Directors


1969 Robert Lansing Hardy Award
1994 Member, National Academy of Engineering

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

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 Interviewers

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 M.A. and Ph.D. 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.

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.

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