Qualcomm Announces New Chief Executive Elect

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm on Tuesday announced its CEO succession plan. Steve Mollenkopf, the current chief executive officer, will retire on June 30, 2021, whereas Christiano Amon, who currently serves as president of Qualcomm, will become the new CEO.  

Steve Mollenkopf has worked at Qualcomm for 26 years, since the mid-1990s. He began his career as an engineer and has served as CEO since March 2014. During his career, Mr. Mollenkopf worked on multiple generations of technologies, such as 3G, 4G, and 5G. As the CEO of Qualcomm, he also oversaw the company's expansion into new segments, namely automotive, Internet of Things (IoT), and RF front-end modules.  

During Mr. Mollenkopf's tenure as CEO, Qualcomm's revenue decreased from $26.487 billion in 2014 to $23.531 billion in 2020. Yet, at the same time, the company's market capitalization increased from $122.94 billion in 2014 to an all-time high of $172.29 billion in 2020.  

Not all of Mr. Mollenkopf's endeavors were a success, though. Qualcomm's acquisition of NXP, a deal that would have created an automotive technology powerhouse, was not approved by the Chinese government (mostly because it became a part of the U.S. – China trade war) and was abandoned. Qualcomm's march into the datacenter CPU business has also not seen any tangible success so far. Meanwhile, the company has successfully created a new category of always-connected PCs with its SoCs specifically tailored for laptops. 

"Steve navigated through unprecedented circumstances during his tenure, facing more in his seven years as CEO than most leaders face in their entire careers," said Mark McLaughlin, Chair of Qualcomm's Board of Directors. "Under Steve's leadership, the Company remained focused and created immense value for stockholders, inventing key technologies that are driving economic growth and improving lives. " 

Christiano Amon has worked at Qualcomm since 1995 and has extensive experience and deep knowledge of the company. Like Mr. Mollenkops, Mr. Amon began his career at Qualcomm as an engineer and then held several business and technical leadership positions. After becoming president of Qualcomm in 2018, he has been responsible for Qualcomm’s semiconductor business (QCT), including mobile and PC SoCs, RF FEMs, automotive, and IoT products. In addition, Mr. Amon has been leading Qualcomm's global operations." 

In recent years Christiano Amon was particularly vocal about Qualcomm's 5G products and technologies, including SoCs, modems, baseband equipment, and RF front end. In the coming years, 5G products will become Qualcomm's main revenue source, and as the company is set to lose Apple as its client, it will have to work harder with customers to avoid a decrease in its income. 

"Qualcomm is an incredible company," said Amon. "We have been at the forefront of innovation for decades and I look forward to maintaining this position going forward. 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 numerous industries as our technologies become essential to connecting everything to the cloud. The need for our solutions has never been more pronounced and our leadership position has never been more evident. I look forward to working with our 41,000 employees around the world to create technologies that revolutionize the way people live, work and connect with each other."             

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.