Intel Ex-Chief Hoping to Help Ireland Rebound

After Japanese competitors nearly sunk Intel (INTC) in the 1980s, Craig Barrett helped the chip maker rebuild its manufacturing prowess. Now he’s going to lend Ireland a hand.

The former Intel CEO and chairman, who retired from the company in May, on Tuesday is being named chairman of a non-profit collection of executives called the Irish Technology Leadership Group. In that role, Barrett plans to work with other business and political leaders to restore the country’s competitiveness on the international high-tech scene.

Why Ireland? Barrett has at least three connections with the Emerald Isle.

For one, Barrett’s grandmother hailed from County Tyrone, part of Northern Ireland. As Intel’s former manufacturing honcho, Barrett also was closely involved with Intel’s decision to turn Ireland into one of its major manufacturing centers, after the U.S. and Israel. Intel started with what Barrett calls “a little motherboard place” near Dublin, later adding sophisticated fabs–the massive manufacturing plants that fabricate chips using silicon wafers–at Leixlip.

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