Qualcomm chief executive Steve Mollenkauf to step down

Qualcomm Inc.

QCOM 2.14%

Chief executive Steve Mollenkauf said on Tuesday that he would step down in June after 26 years with the mobile-phone chip giant.

The company named Cristiano Amon as Mr. Molenkauf’s successor, as Qualcomm puts a period of legal conflict behind it and aims to capitalize on the growing demand for Superfast 5G phones.

Mr. Molenkoff is to remain as a consultant to the company for a period when Mr. Amon succeeds him, the company said. The late CEO said that this is the right time to make changes, questions about the company’s business model and big new opportunities before that.

As president of Qualcomm, Mr. Amon, 50 years old, has been the public face of the company’s efforts to become a central supplier in 5G’s shift, winning business with Apple Inc.

Building on its share of the Chinese handset market and moving into new areas such as chips for autonomous cars. The company said that it is ready to take over on June 30.

Mr. Mollenkauf, 52, was promoted from president to CEO in 2014 and led the company through many years of unprecedented challenges. They included a long-running legal conflict with Apple over Qualcomm’s patent-licensing practices, an antitrust case brought by the Federal Trade Commission, stalling an active investor, stalling a hostile takeover, and US-China political tensions Between $ 44 billion stopped the acquisition.

Qualcomm chairman Mark McLaughlin said that Mr. Mollenkauf, in his seven years as CEO, faced most leaders throughout his career, guiding the company over its challenges.

In 2018 Cristiano Amon became the chairman of Qualcomm and, for many observers, was the successor to the CEO.


Robbie Sick / Agnes France-Press / Getty Images

Mr. Amon has spent much of his career at Qualcomm, spanning two interrupted tenures over a period during which he helped save his original Brazilian venture-capital-owned telecommunications company. After re-joining Qualcomm in 2004, he rose up the ranks within the company’s chip making operation, and became president – and, for many observers, heir to the CEO in 2018.

CEO Switch comes against the backdrop of rapid deployment of the new 5G network worldwide which has boosted Qualcomm’s fortunes. The company is a major supplier of communication chips for mobile phones, including Apple’s latest offerings – though the iPhone maker has indicated that it was starting to do some work in that home.

Mr. Amon, in a statement announcing his appointment, indicated Qualcomm’s focus in the coming years. “In addition to driving the expansion of 5G into mainstream devices and beyond mobile, Qualcomm is set to play a key role in the digital transformation of many industries as our technologies become essential to connecting everything to the cloud,” he said.

In November, Qualcomm said its most recent quarter rose rapidly to $ 8.3 billion, beating Wall Street forecasts and raising stocks that climbed 73% last year.

The technological battle between the US and China has hit Tiktok and Huawei and shocked American companies producing and selling in China. The WSJ describes how Beijing is pouring money into high-tech chips because it wants to become self-sufficient. Video / Illustration: George Downs / The Wall Street Journal (Originally published on September 3, 2020)

Write Asa Fitch at [email protected]

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