Qualcomm is going to get a new CEO: Cristiano Amon, who already serves as president for the company, will succeed Steve Mollenkopf, who took over as CEO in 2014. Amon has been the company’s public face for some time, chairing the launch of new products such as Snapdragon 888, making it an obvious candidate to succeed Mollenkopf at the forefront.
Mollenkopf’s tenure as CEO saw Qualcomm face a variety of challenges: antitrust complaints, allegations of anti-competitive conduct, and a huge struggle with Apple that saw the two companies break their relationship. But he also supervised the rise of Qualcomm in today’s juggernaut, one that almost consistently outperforms the graphics chipset industry.
“I am honored to be appointed the next CEO of Qualcomm and admire the trust that Steve and the Board have in me,” said Amon. “Qualcomm is an unbelievable business. We have been at the cutting edge of technology for decades, and I look forward to retaining this role. In addition to monitoring the extension of 5G to mainstream users and beyond mobile devices, Qualcomm is expected to play a key role in the digital transformation of a range of industries as our technologies become necessary to link everything to the cloud.”
In an industry filled with dry-talking engineers, Mr. Amon is considered to be gregarious and high-energy—traces on show when he unveiled Qualcomm’s new cellphone chip last month. Normally, Qualcomm holds an annual product exhibition in Hawaii, but it had to be moved online during the pandemic.
Mr. Amon stated he plans to stay focused on 5G, artificial intelligence, Internet-of-things apps and other emerging chips applications. Although the CEO change was “a story of consistency,” he said to reporters, “the organization is always trying to reinvent itself because we really believe in emerging technologies.”
Mr. Amon’s selection may have come sooner than expected, but the move itself was no shock, said Stacy Rasgon, an analyst at Bernstein Research. Qualcomm, he said, is not expected to change its path under Mr. Amon.