Intel, the world's largest maker of microprocessors, is a legend in Silicon Valley for its creativity and no-frills management. Senior Vice President Leslie L. Vadasz (107th AMP), for instance, oversees corporate business development from a cubical just slightly larger than his secretary's.
In the firm's early days, says Vadasz, who started out as an engineering manager, the dialogue in the industry was too technical for nonengineers to grasp. Vadasz knew the business had reached a turning point when a vendor wanted to use microprocessing technology to slice bacon more efficiently. "For the first time, our technology started to reach mere mortals," he says with a laugh.
Today, with 50,000 employees worldwide and revenues of $20.8 billion in 1996, Intel - in addition to providing the architecture and brains of most of the world's computers - now makes networking products, video phones, flash memory, and software. Flexibility and an insatiable appetite for new challenges have led both the company and Vadasz to success. "You continuously have to change, grow, and reinvent," he notes. "That's the biggest struggle, but it's also the most fun. That's what keeps you young."
"Silicon Valley is a melting pot - of technologies, ideas, businesses, and people," adds Vadasz, a native of Hungary. In an environment where most of the hot players think that staying with one company for more than five years signals failure, Intel stands out for its devoted employees. Constant change is what keeps him there, says Vadasz: "I never expected it to continue to be so interesting year after year."