Qualcomm, the world’s largest provider of cell phone chips, announced Tuesday that it has named its President and Head of Chips, Cristiano Amon, as its new CEO.
Amon, who has been with the San Diego-based company since 1995 and became President in 2018, will replace outgoing CEO Steven Mollenkopf effective June 30.
For the past several years, Amon has overseen the company’s chip division, which supplies processors for most Android phones and modem chips that enable Android devices and Apple’s iPhone models to connect to wireless data networks.
As a strong proponent of 5G, the new generation of faster wireless networks, he has driven Qualcomm’s drive to incorporate 5G chips into low and mid-range cell phones. He has also led the company’s expansion into new areas such as 5G infrastructure equipment, automotive computers, and personal computers.
“We have been at the forefront of innovation for decades and I look forward to maintaining this position in the future,” said the 50-year-old Brazilian, who restores classic muscle cars in his spare time.
Amon, who also played a role in Qualcomm’s licensing division as company president, will face some major challenges as CEO, such as: B. how to deal with Qualcomm’s heavy reliance on Arm’s intellectual property for its processor chips.
Arm is in the midst of a $ 40 billion (approximately Rs.2.93,600 million) acquisition of Nvidia that has a brewing rivalry with Qualcomm over artificial intelligence chips.
Amon could be forced to find a replacement for Arm’s intellectual property if Qualcomm concludes that reliance on a competitor carries too much long-term risk.
Qualcomm has already started using more of its own intellectual property in artificial intelligence chips and is using an arm alternative called the RISC-V in certain parts of its phone processors.
Qualcomm develops chips but mainly outsources their manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing in Taiwan and Samsung in Korea. US lawmakers recently approved a program to strengthen domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Amon said Qualcomm, which has a huge impact on chipmakers because of its sales volume, plans to maintain its outsourcing strategy but would consider future U.S. factories.
“We are one of the few companies that actually has multi-sourced on the leading node. And we expect that to be the case,” he told reporters during a press conference. “We are actually seeing very positive investments in foundries, including in the US. That is very good for Qualcomm and very good for the industry.”
The current CEO, Mollenkopf, is no stranger to challenges himself, having led Qualcomm through three crises: a hostile takeover attempt by Broadcom, an antitrust challenge by the US Federal Trade Commission, and a protracted legal battle with Apple.
In all three cases, Qualcomm prevailed, and the 52-year-old, who has been with the company for 26 years, is leaving the company with his shares, which are almost three times their value in the depth of the crisis.
“Steve has navigated unprecedented circumstances in his tenure and has had more to overcome in his seven years as CEO than most executives in their entire career,” said Mark McLaughlin, chief executive officer of Qualcomm.
Mollenkopf will stay with Qualcomm as a consultant for some time, the company said.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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