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Qualcomm Promotes President to CEO Role

Qualcomm President and COO Steve Mollenkopf will take over the CEO role on March 4 of next year, replacing the chipmaker's current CEO Paul Jacobs, who will stay on as executive chairman, the company announced Friday.

Mollenkopf has been with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) for nearly 20 years, holding leadership roles in the company's chipset division. He was key in securing Qualcomm's biggest acquisition ever, the $3.1 billion purchase of Atheros, and in helping it became the world's largest mobile chipset supplier. He becomes the CEO-elect, effective yesterday, but will take over official duties in March following the company's annual shareholder meeting. (See Qualcomm Buys Atheros.)

The timing of the appointment is peculiar: As recently as 12 hours ago, Mollenkopf had been cited as a potential candidate for Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s chief executive position. (See Will Elop Return Without the Crown?)

Jacobs has served as CEO of Qualcomm for the past nine years. As chairman, the company says he will continue to guide the development of new technologies and long-term opportunities. That might include the company's Toq smartwatch, which he said in September was his pet project. (See Watch Out! Qualcomm's Got a Wearable Device and Qualcomm to Offer Toq Smartwatch.)

Under Jacobs's tenure, the company has become the leader in LTE chipsets. Its Snapdragon 800 is the first to support global roaming and LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation, and, earlier this week, it introduced the Snapdragon 410 processor, which will bring LTE to sub-$150 smartphones in emerging markets. (See New iPhones Use Old Qualcomm LTE Chips and LG's G2 Is Ready for LTE-Advanced.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kruz 12/16/2013 | 10:05:37 AM
Re: Weird timing... They have just started to show positive figures in the mobile world and the company needs a strong and agile CEO more than any time before. Threat from competitors in its core businesses have never been so high.
Sarah Thomas 12/16/2013 | 9:35:52 AM
Re: Weird timing... Yeah, he could win by default. Sounds like Microsoft employees are just itching for a decision sooner rather than later: http://allthingsd.com/20131216/will-microsoft-name-its-ceo-before-the-new-year-weary-microsoft-employees-hope-for-even-sooner/?mod=atd_homepage_carousel
Kruz 12/16/2013 | 9:31:52 AM
Re: Weird timing... Indeed, seems like the list of potential candidates for MSFT's CEO is just shrinking. Elop might again be a winner here.
Sarah Thomas 12/16/2013 | 9:20:44 AM
Re: Weird timing... Well that's certainly true, and I don't think he got the job because of that or that it even came directly from him (maybe his camp?). Either way, the timing was quite odd -- just hours apart!
Kruz 12/13/2013 | 12:20:40 PM
Re: Weird timing... I doubt Mollenkopf would do that. It would look bad and Qualcomm would not want to have him as CEO for that.
Sarah Thomas 12/13/2013 | 11:48:51 AM
Re: Uplinq haha, not to say that Jacobs hasn't been instrumental to the success of Qualcomm, but I did get the impression at Uplinq that he was taking on pet projects like the Toq watch, not focusing on core Qualcomm businesses. Chairman will be a great role for him.
MordyK 12/13/2013 | 11:46:50 AM
Re: Uplinq Those weighty decisions are now being handled by the executive chairman the teh CEO can focus on the company :)
Sarah Thomas 12/13/2013 | 10:00:04 AM
Uplinq I didn't realize Paul Jacobs was looking to leave (or being asked to vacate) the CEO spot. My biggest concern is, who will pick the bands for the Uplinq show now?!? 
Sarah Thomas 12/13/2013 | 9:59:19 AM
Weird timing... So what do we think, was the timing of the Microsoft CEO rumors just a coincidence, or did Mollenkopf's people let that little rumor slip to secure his job as Qualcomm CEO?
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