Qualcomm Crowns a New Chip Chief

Mobile chip giant Qualcomm  (NASDAQ: QCOM  ) has named a new CEO. Paul Jacobs, son of Qualcomm's co-founder, will become executive chairman, while COO Steve Mollenkopf will take the lead role effective March. Mollenkopf has spent nearly 20 years at the company and was named COO in 2011. Jacobs will still help guide Qualcomm's strategic direction.

That's exactly the type of experienced exec that Qualcomm needs running the business, especially since it's highly technical. Among other accomplishments, Mollenkopf played a key role in Qualcomm's $3.1 billion acquisition of Atheros, which is its largest to date and one that played a key strategic role in helping Qualcomm diversify beyond its cellular business.

Mollenkopf's name had been floated around as a candidate for Microsoft CEO. It's quite possible that speculation around Mollenkopf's move to the software giant catalyzed Qualcomm's board into promoting him. Mollenkopf was already part of Qualcomm's long-term succession plan, and the board likely didn't want to lose him to Mr. Softy. Qualcomm has had a good run under Jacobs' leadership, and Mollenkopf is absolutely the right man to pick up where Jacobs left off.

In this segment of Tech Teardown, Erin Kennedy discusses Qualcomm's new CEO with Evan Niu, CFA, our tech and telecom bureau chief.

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