Artifact Details


Ruiz, Hector oral history

Catalog Number





Hector Ruiz was born in Piedras Negras, Mexico, a border town across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass, Texas. He always envisioned himself as being an auto mechanic as an adult, but a missionary he met at his secondary school took an interest in him and encouraged him to go to high school across the border in Eagle Pass. He did extremely well in high school, developed his English skills, and graduated in 1964 as valedictorian of his class.

As a valedictorian he earned a scholarship to the University of Texas. With the encouragement of his mentor, he again reluctantly decided to go onto the University. Still having the dream of becoming a mechanic, he registered in mechanical engineering, but quickly changed to major in electrical engineering. After the first year he was hooked on education. He earned an MSEE from U of T Austin and then attended Rice, where he finished his PhD.

Ruiz began his semiconductor career at Texas Instruments. He initially joined the research labs, but was soon drafted to lead a task force to solve a problem with “stacking faults” during wafer processing in manufacturing. As a result of this experience, he moved over to the manufacturing organization where he continued to make a major impact.

As his responsibilities increased, Ruiz eventually decided he wanted the experience of working in a different country and culture. When TI was slow to act on his requests, Motorola hired him away from TI to manage the construction and startup of their new fab in Scotland. Once he got that fab up and running, Motorola asked him to move back to Phoenix and fix the factory which was building their new microprocessor, he 68000. He subsequently was put in charge of all semiconductor R&D and manufacturing.

After his success in the semiconductor part of their business, Motorola asked Ruiz to move to Florida to run their Paging business. This was part of their plan to position him as a potential CEO candidate down the road. After 5 successful years there, he was moved again -- this time to take over management of the total semiconductor business in 1996.

After taking on some difficult restructuring challenges, and planning for an eventual spin-off of the semiconductor business from Motorola, Hector was recruited by Jerry Sanders at AMD. He came into the company while Sanders was still CEO, but eventually assumed that role. Again, there were a number of challenges at AMD, including reducing the breadth of the product portfolio, suing Intel for monopolistic business practices, acquiring ATI Technologies, a graphics chip company, and the eventual spinout of the manufacturing operations to a new company called GlobalFoundries. Hector actually joined this new operation to ensure its success, stepping down from the CEO position at AMD. He left GlobalFoundries a year later.

Since leaving GlobalFoundries, Hector has been very active in mentoring entrepreneurs, working with groups to help ensure more Latinos stay in school and enter college. He is also working hard to encourage more Latinos to participate in the democratic process by voting.

Throughout this interview he provided interesting commentary about the discrimination he faced as a Latino, especially after being promoted to senior management.




Fairbairn, Doug, Interviewer
Plutte, Max, Camera person
Ruiz, Hector, Interviewee
Weber, Marc, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA, USA


57 p.






TI; AMD; Motorola; GlobalFoundries; TSMC; ATI; Sanders, Jerry; Stein, Al

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102792807 Ruiz, Hector oral history