Qualcomm's Mollenkopf Just Got Promoted to CEO

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is on the way out. He announced plans to retire back in August, so the search for a new leader continues. Microsoft has been keeping very quiet about potential candidates for the job. This morning, there was talk that Microsoft may go after Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf for the position. Before those reports could gain too much traction, Qualcomm went ahead and promoted Mollenkopf to CEO of the company.

Mollenkopf is replacing current CEO Paul Jacobs, who will assume the role of Executive Chairman. Mollenkopf is to take over as CEO on March 4, following the company's 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

"Qualcomm's board of directors is responsible for ensuring the continuity of the Company's senior leadership and that the executive team possesses the experience, skills and character required to achieve the Company's goals," said Sherry Lansing, Presiding Director of Qualcomm's Board of Directors and chair of its Governance Committee, in a statement today. "Qualcomm's Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Steve Mollenkopf to the board of directors and his transition to CEO. We have the highest degree of confidence that his leadership will further expand Qualcomm's impressive record of innovation and continued stockholder value creation."

Mollenkopf has been at Qualcomm for almost two decades and has led the company's chipset business and served as president and COO. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.

With Mollenkopf out of the picture, we're back to square one in terms of speculating as to who Microsoft will pick to replace Ballmer. Back in November, we heard that Microsoft had narrowed its list of potential candidates down to a handful of people. Both Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop and Ford CEO Alan Mulally were apparently on the list along with former Skype CEO and current Executive VP of Business Development, Strategy and Evangelism at Microsoft, Tony Bates; and Satya Nadella, Executive VP of Cloud and Enterprise.

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