Steve Mollenkopf

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Qualcomm on Friday announced that Steve Mollenkopf will succeed Paul Jacobs as chief executive of the company on March 4, 2014. Mollenkopf, currently president of Qualcomm, will retain that title after assuming CEO responsibilities, the company's board said. Jacobs will become executive chairman of Qualcomm and remain an employee of the company. The mobile chip maker didn't offer any reasons for why the move was being announced now. But Mollenkopf, who has been with Qualcomm for 19 years, had this week been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Qualcomm's board of directors is responsible for ensuring the continuity of the company's senior leadership and that the executive team possesses the experience, skills, and character required to achieve the company's goals. 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," Sherry Lansing, the presiding director of Qualcomm's board, said in a statement. In his career at Qualcomm, Mollenkopf, pictured above, has headed up the company's chipset business, guided the $3.1 billion acquisition of Atheros, and served as chief operating officer and president. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering. "I am honored to have been chosen by the board to lead Qualcomm into the next exciting era of the company," Mollenkopf said. "Qualcomm's focus on execution in product and technology development has helped to establish us as a leader in wireless with our partners. I look forward to working with our executive team and our employees in driving growth for our company and the entire mobile ecosystem as it transitions to 4G and beyond." Lansing also thanked Jacobs for his tenure as CEO, which began in 2005. Jacobs, who started at Qualcomm as an engineer in 1990, led the company to tremendous growth as one of the world's top suppliers of processors and communications chipsets for mobile devices. "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 lay ahead as we continue to push the boundaries of technology in mobile and beyond," Jacobs said. For more, check out PCMag Live in the video below, which discusses Qualcomm's new CEO. [+]
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