Qualcomm Inc promoted chief operating officer Steve Mollenkopf to chief executive in a surprise move that follows investor pressure on the phone chipmaker to return capital and speculation that he might be poached to run Microsoft.
The replacement of current CEO Paul Jacobs,the 51-year-old son of a Qualcomm co-founder,comes a day after Bloomberg News reported that Microsoft has been considering Mollenkopf as a candidate to replace retiring CEO Steve Ballmer.
Obviously Paul is still a very young man,so (this is) not something that many of us were expecting but something that has likely been in the works for some time, said Williams Financial Group analyst Cody Acree.
I think the consideration of Microsoft of Mollenkopf may have prompted a bit of a speedier announcement.
Mollenkopf,41,will take the reins at the worlds biggest maker of cellphone chips in March,as Qualcomm faces an antitrust investigation in China,its largest market. An engineer,he will replace Jacobs on March 4,after the annual shareholder meet.