Chip giant Qualcomm has promoted chief operating (COO) officer Steve Mollenkopf to the position of chief executive, replacing current boss Paul Jacobs. The news follows rumours that Microsoft was considering him as a replacement for Steve Ballmer.
Qualcomm is the world's largest manufacturer of chips for mobile devices, producing processors found in the industry's best-selling, high-end smartphones and tablets including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Google Nexus 7. Forty-four-year old Mollenkopf has been at the company since 1994. He was promoted to head of Qualcomm's chip business in 2008 and made chief operating officer in 2011.
The leadership change will take place on 4 March 2014, while Jacobs will remain on Qualcomm's board as executive chairman.
Mollenkopf was given the position following a unanimous board vote, and was commended for his track record at the company. Sherry Lansing, presiding director of Qualcomm's board, said: "We have the highest degree of confidence that his leadership will further expand Qualcomm's impressive record of innovation and continued stockholder value creation."
As COO, Mollenkopf grabbed headlines in facilitating the company's biggest buyout to date, that of mobile chipset company Atheros for $3.1bn.
In a statement, Mollenkopf said he was "honoured" to have been chosen and was looking to lead the company into new areas of technology. "Qualcomm's focus on execution in product and technology development has helped to establish us as a leader in wireless with our partners," he said. "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".
Outgoing chief Jacobs said: "I have the utmost confidence in him and in the rest of the management team that they will continue to drive technical and business innovations, ensuring the growth and future of Qualcomm."
Mollenkopf was briefly slated as in the running as Microsoft's replacement for outgoing chief Steve Ballmer, according to Bloomberg and "people familiar with the matter".
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