Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who was an engineer at the company 25 years ago, shared a big and interesting secret of his early days at the chip maker. Recently he appeared for an interview with Fortt Knox podcast and revealed that he made an error that almost got him fired, according to CNBC.
Intel could have fired him long back
Krzanich said, “I wiped out the output of an entire factory for a week. I’m lucky to be employed at Intel, sometimes I say.”
It did not doom him, but the way he handled the problem influenced the company culture, thus giving birth to a system called “Copy Exactly.” This has become a part of his identity now. Later, Krzanich was promoted to an executive position, becoming responsible for all of Intel’s factories. This earned him massive amounts of respect and prepared him for the CEO role, notes CNBC.
The incident took place in the 1990s when Krzanich was in his early 30s. Intel had barely started to hit its stride at that time, with a strategy that would have led it to become the world’s top supplier of chips for personal computers. Krzanich’s job was to transfer the chip manufacturing process from one facility in New Mexico to the one next door. It didn’t work as intended, and production ground to a halt. For quite some time, he could not figure out what actually went wrong or how to fix it all.
What sets Krzanich apart?
Recalling it all, Krzanich said, “It went all the way up to the CEO. And my boss at one point walked into my office and said, ‘You have about two more weeks to figure out this issue, and if you don’t, I’ve got to let you go.’ And luckily, a friend of mine and I, we said we’re just not going to sleep until we solve this. And then, sure enough, we found the problem about a week into that two week time period.”
The way Krzanich rallied in a situation like this is not the only thing that sets him apart as a leader. It is also the no-frills approach that he brings to his work and his adaptability, which has allowed him to take his career and Intel to great heights.
In the interview, he also shared several more instances and aspects of his life. One such aspect is that he is never impressed with the prestige of a college’s brand on a resume.