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Qualcomm Appoints New CEO : Paul Jacobs Moves Upstairs To Executive Chairman

Qualcomm Chairman   / Getty

Paul Jacobs Executive Chairman / Getty

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QualcommQCOM ) is preparing it management for the next generation of leadership with a significant move yesterday.

Effective yesterday current President and COO Steven Mollenkopf was promoted by a unanimous vote of Qualcomm’s Board of Directors to become Chief Executive Officer-elect, and to immediately become a member of Qualcomm’s Board of Directors.

Mollenkopf will then assume the role of Chief Executive Officer of the corporation on March 4th, 2014, following the company’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

When he assumes the role he will then take responsibility for Qualcomm, including all lines of business and all functional groups in the Company.

On March 4, 2014, the current Chairman and CEO Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, son of founder Dr. Irwin Jacobs, will take on the role of Executive Chairman, helping guide development of new technology and Qualcomm’s long-term opportunities.

Sherry Lansing, Presiding Director of Qualcomm’s Board of Directors and chair of its Governance Committee said,

“With today’s announcement, we enable a smooth transition to a proven executive in Steve Mollenkopf, while providing for ongoing executive guidance and Board-level leadership from Paul Jacobs.”

“We want to thank Paul for his leadership and strategic vision in the almost nine years since he was appointed CEO. His innovations have helped define the smartphone world that we live in today. He has guided Qualcomm through extraordinary growth where the Company’s market cap more than doubled, revenues more than quadrupled and GAAP EPS more than tripled during his tenure as CEO.”

In his role as Executive Chairman, Dr. Jacobs will remain as an employee of the Company and will help guide its future strategies and direction. While Jacobs will no doubt have some qualms about, in effect, kicking himself upstairs as his father did too before him, he sounded very upbeat about it saying afterwards,

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished during my time as CEO and look forward to being part of the Company’s continued success. At its heart, Qualcomm is a company of inventors and entrepreneurs and I’m excited by the opportunities that lie ahead as we continue to push the boundaries of technology in mobile and beyond.”

Mollenkopf is an engineer who has been with Qualcomm since 1994 He has held a variety of leadership positions at the company, including leading Qualcomm’s core chipset business (QCT). Under his leadership, Qualcomm became the world’s largest mobile chipset supplier and now claims a leadership position in LTE technology as well. Under Mollenkopf the company also completed the US$3.1 billion acquisition of Atheros to accelerate the expansion of Qualcomm’s technologies and platforms beyond the cellular product space.

A curious feature of the announcement, for a number of commentators, is its timing, as only recently Steve Balmer had named Qualcomm, together with Apple and Samsung, as companies who had succeeded in managing well the shift to mobile. Accordingly, a number of commentators had begun to adopt the idea that Steve Mollenkof had possibly even become a strong candidate for the job as CEO of Microsoft itself, to replace Balmer.

We will never know now whether this ever had any truth, but Qualcomm has in any case certainly moved quickly to resolve their own shift to a new generation of management, and to do so in great style.




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