Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs Passes Chairman’s Role to Son

Qualcomm said today that CEO Paul Jacobs is succeeding his father, co-founder Irwin Jacobs, as chairman of the San Diego wireless giant. Irwin Jacobs, 75, started the digital wireless company with Andy Viterbi and a handful of others in 1985 and served as CEO for 20 years. He plans to remain on the board.

The transition is effective immediately, according to the company, and reflects the measured change that Qualcomm has undertaken in shifting to its next generation of leadership. Paul Jacobs, 46, was named as Qualcomm’s CEO in 2005—after heading the company’s wireless and Internet group. He joined the company in 1988, fresh from getting his doctorate in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley.

In its release, Qualcomm said Paul Jacobs has been the primary driver of Qualcomm’s focus on wireless data services and the expanding possibilities of next-generation technologies for mobile entertainment and computing and on-the-go information.

Earlier in the day, Qualcomm signaled the strength of its balance sheet by announcing the company will increase its dividend to 17 cents a share (from 16 cents) for quarterly dividends payable after March 27th.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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