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Steve Mollenkopf, who was considered a dark horse to run Microsoft, will be chief executive of Qualcomm. The surprise announcement was made this morning, December 13.

Mollenkopf is currently chief operating officer of Qualcomm. The appointment becomes effective March 4.

Mollenkopf has been with Qualcomm since 1994 and recently headed its wireless chip-set business.

Paul Jacobs, 51, is son of the company's co-founder, Irwin Jacobs. He will remain executive chairman of the company.

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 11:41 a.m.

JACOBS SAYS THE SUCCESSION PLAN WAS ACCELERATED. Qualcomm had been planning the management change "for a fairly long period of time," then accelerated the plan, Paul Jacobs told Bloomberg News this morning. The business press is speculating that Qualcomm made Mollenkopf chief executive to keep him from being plucked as CEO by Microsoft. Jacobs hinted at that by saying, "Our executives are very talented, very sought after. By doing this, it ensures the continuity of the management team." Jacobs declined to comment on Microsoft. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Dec. 13, 2013 @ 1:51 p.m.

Mollenkopf has probably been running the company for many years. Maybe Nate Fletcher is going to pick up Mollenkopf's laundry and get his car gassed and washed like he did for Paul. Paul didn't have time to wait in line at Costco to gas his car as the line is always at least 10 cars long. So he sent Nate there to get the car gassed and to pick up his Combo pizza.

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 4:29 p.m.

Burwell: Mollenkopf has been chief operating officer, so it is possible that he was essentially running the company -- day to day, at least. I don't know what Nathan Fletcher will be doing at the company. I assume he is still there, but stockholders might complain about the arrangement; it was a blatant use of corporate money to feed someone the Jacobs family wanted to become mayor. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Dec. 13, 2013 @ 4:34 p.m.

I just never believed that Paul Jacobs was calling the shots. He was probably just a straw boss at Qualcomm. I think the Jacobs family owns less than 4% of Qualcomm's stock and there may be no Jacobs working for the company in a few years.

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 8:19 p.m.

Burwell: I am quite sure the Jacobs family has a small piece of Qualcomm now -- 4% may be about right. This is publicly available information. Best, Don Baudre

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Visduh Dec. 13, 2013 @ 5:25 p.m.

Outsiders, such as myself, had assumed that for better or worse, Paul was going to run the operation as the anointed successor to his brilliant father. So it was utterly unexpected by me. This is a game changer for a potential investor, such as myself. I said I would not own Qualcomm stock under any circumstances with that sort of royal-line-of-succession management in place. Burwell has it right on. Insiders, and maybe Burwell is one of those, probably knew this all along.

Questions: Will Paul take a pay cut that reflects his reduced role in day-to-day matters? Will anyone take a pay cut? Or will this shuffle just increase the executive suite payroll by a few more million?

But, Don, who are those stockholders who might complain about Fletch? Do everyday stockholders--or even Wall Street investment managers--look at that sort of minutia?
Only locals know of such things, and only they care. They don't own the stock in mass quantities, so they don't count.

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 8:23 p.m.

Visduh: Paul Jacobs brought in $20.7 million in 2012, when he was barely 50 years old. (He is now 51.) Will he have to take a pay haircut? I doubt it. The new CEO will just get a hefty raise. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 8:26 p.m.

Visduh; I see I didn't answer your questions about what kind of shareholder would complain about the job given Fletcher. In my experience, that's just the kind of thing that professional bitchers -- who show up at annual meetings to make speeches -- complain about. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Dec. 19, 2013 @ 9:07 a.m.

Today's Mill (Thurs, 12/19) has a piece in the business section outlining the comp package for the new CEO. He gets a big salary boost and scads of stock options. No mention of Paul taking a cut to make it happen. Having given this more consideration, it seems obvious that Mollenkapf was being recruited by at least one major player, probably several, and that he just told Qualcomm that he was leaving unless they gave him the title to go with his duties and a big, big boost in pay. Under the circumstances I cannot fault him for that. But this means he still is serving under and playing second fiddle to a figurehead chairman, and may still long for the top dog slot somewhere. We might wonder the term of his contract in years.

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Don Bauder Dec. 19, 2013 @ 2:12 p.m.

Visduh: I think it is certain that Mollenkopf told Qualcomm he was leaving unless he got the top slot, which had been dangled in front of him for some time.

You're right: Microsoft might have been only one possibility. And he may not have wanted Microsoft, because there is a big turnaround job facing that company.

Don't be so sure he will be in Paul Jacobs's shadow. The Jacobs family may not have as much clout at Qualcomm as some are led to believe. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Dec. 20, 2013 @ 8:47 a.m.

It would be pleasant to think that Irwin Jacobs is no longer calling the shots from behind a curtain, and that his son's ascendancy was a sort of final honor for the old man. The choice of titles in this recent move indicates that Paul's day-to-day involvement will be slight, and that he will continue to rake in far too much compensation for doing little. Maybe you are right about the waning influence of the Jacobs clan within Qualcomm. There is no denying though that they are very, very rich already, and that their riches will be used to influence government and private organizations.

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Don Bauder Dec. 20, 2013 @ 2:01 p.m.

Visduh: The fact that Irwin Jacobs, the billionaire, is spending much more time on civic matters, suggests he is spending less time at Qualcomm. The same may become true of Paul Jacobs. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Dec. 14, 2013 @ 7:38 a.m.

Hey, maybe this will allow Paul to devote all his energies and time to "immigration reform", meaning an expansion of work visas for the kind of employees that Qualcomm really likes, indentured foreigners. Yeah, that's what he can really concentrate on now.

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Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2013 @ 9:48 a.m.

Visduh: Very possibly. As I have been reporting for some time, Qualcomm is one of the big users of -- and major lobbyists for -- the H-1B immigrants, who essentially are indentured servants. Best, Don Bauder

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