iNVEZZ.com, Saturday, December 14: Qualcomm Corp (NASDAQ:QCOM), the world’s largest manufacturer of chips for mobile devices, has promoted Steve Mollenkopf to chief executive officer after it emerged that he was among the candidates to replace Steve Ballmer at Microsoft Corp.
Earlier this week unnamed sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans told Bloomberg that Mollenkopf’s candidacy was under serious consideration by the Redmond-based tech giant (Microsoft share price: Company reportedly considering Qualcomm executive for CEO post). The surprising move is an indication of Qualcomm’s determination to keep its current Chief Operating Officer at the company.
In yesterday’s trading, Qualcomm shares closed 0.2 percent lower at $72.58. The Microsoft share price lost 1.4 percent to $36.69.
Qualcomm’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved a succession plan for executive management, promoting Mollenkopf to CEO, the company said yesterday in a statement. Mollenkopf is to assume the top position on March 4. He will also join Qualcomm’s board and continue to serve as President of the company. The company’s current CEO Paul Jacobs, will become executive chairman.
Mollenkopf’s appointment is an unexpected move, which marks the first time Qualcomm has chosen a chief executive outside the founding Jacobs family.
Bloomberg quoted Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, as observing: “This is the first time a Jacobs won’t be CEO at Qualcomm — that says a lot about Mollenkopf’s merits.” Entner continued: “He helped transform Qualcomm from simply a wireless chip supplier to a leading developer of processors for mobile devices.”
In an interview with Reuters, Paul Jacobs said that Mollenkopf had been in line to eventually succeed the current CEO, but the plan was accelerated to keep the senior executive from leaving.
“Our executives are very talented and very sought after,” Jacobs said in response to a question by Reuters about whether the promotion was related to a job offer from Microsoft.
However, both he and Mollenkopf declined to specifically discuss Microsoft or whether Mollenkopf had received an offer to run the Redmond-based software maker.
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“I am honoured to have been chosen by the board to lead Qualcomm into the next exciting era of the Company,” Mollenkopf commented on his appointment in the company statement.
Mollenkopf’s promotion essentially ends talks over him being in the running to take over at Microsoft. The world’s largest software company is in a delicate situation, trying to find a successor for its retiring CEO Steve Ballmer as soon as possible. The company was down to a “handful” of candidates, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters this week. The names of Microsoft executive Satya Nadella and Ford Motor Co’s (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally have emerged as some of the candidates under serious consideration. The candidacy of Mulally, however, has recently faded amid concerns about his lack of experience in the tech industry.
According to FBR analyst Chris Rolland, Mollenkopf would have been an “awesome” CEO of Microsoft. “But Qualcomm didn’t want to lose him, and it makes sense to me,” he told Reuters.
**As of yesterday’s US close buy Qualcomm shares at $72.69**
**As of yesterday’s US close sell Qualcomm shares at $72.41**
**As of yesterday’s US close buy Microsoft shares at $36.77**
**As of yesterday’s US close sell Microsoft shares at $36.71**
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