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Summary:

Qualcomm is promoting its new CEO from within, handing the reins to 20-year executive Steve Mollenkopf, who has headed up Qualcomm’s core semiconductor group and most recently served as COO.

Steve Mollenkopf is now CEO of Qualcomm, the mobile chip giant He will replace Paul Jacobs in that role on Mar. 4, and Jacobs will become executive chairman. The timing is interesting: Bloomberg just reported that Mollenkopf, who has been Qualcomm President and COO, was being considered for the Microsoft CEO position.

Mollenkopf has worked at Qualcomm for 20 years. He took over silicon vendor’s core mobile semiconductor business Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT) in 2008 at a critical juncture: the advent of smartphone computing and the initial development of LTE technologies. Qualcomm is dominant in both today. He also oversaw Qualcomm’s $3.1 billion acquisition of Wi-Fi chipmaker Atheros.

Qualcomm gave no reason for the change in leadership at top, though Mollenkopf’s promotion means he’s probably not entertaining any ideas about leaving for Microsoft. Jacobs took over as CEO in 2005 from his father Irwin Jacobs, a mobile technology pioneer who co-founded the company. Paul Jacobs also took over the chairmans role from his father in 2009. In his new role as executive chairman he will have help guide Qualcomm’s overall strategy, Qualcomm said in its announcement.

Note: This story was updated at 7:19 PDT with additional information on Mollenkopf’s tenure at Qualcomm.

  1. Maybe they’ll get Nancy Tellem to do it.

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