SAN FRANCISCO—Irwin Jacobs, a co-founder of Qualcomm Inc. who served as the company's CEO for its first 20 years and as its chairman for almost 24 years, will step down from Qualcomm's board of directors after his current term expires in 2012, Qualcomm said Tuesday (Dec. 20).
Qualcomm (San Diego) said its board has conferred on Irwin Jacobs the title of founding chairman and CEO emeritus, effective at the conclusion Qualcomm's annual shareholder meeting, which typically takes place in March.
"When we first started Qualcomm, I told my wife Joan that, if we were lucky, we might grow to 100 employees," Irwin Jacobs said in a statement. "We clearly have surpassed that. I am immensely proud of the company we have built, its more than 22,000 employees, and the impact Qualcomm has made on the telecom industry and the lives of mobile users worldwide. I leave knowing that Qualcomm's strong management team and technical roadmap will ensure the company's continuing success."
Irwin Jacobs served as CEO from Qualcomm's founding on July 1, 1985, to its 20th anniversary, June 30, 2005 and as chairman from founding until March 2009. He and his six co-founders established Qualcomm with the goal of creating a company that could innovate rapidly and develop commercial solutions to some of the communication industry's most challenging problems. As CEO, Irwin Jacobs oversaw Qualcomm's innovations in code division multiple access (CDMA), a technology fundamental to today's 3G mobile wireless standards.
Prior to Qualcomm, Irwin Jacobs co-founded Linkabit, an influential development and manufacturing company, and served as a professor of electrical engineering at both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1959-1966) and at the University of California, San Diego (1966-1972).
Irwin Jacobs is the father of Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's current chairman and CEO.
"Qualcomm's business model and culture of innovation are due to Irwin's vision and leadership," said Paul Jacobs. "He continues to inspire all of us here at Qualcomm as we pioneer the next generation of mobile technologies."
Irwin Jacobs was selected as the EE Times ACE Lifetime Achievement Award winner earlier this year.
I attended a keynote speech by Irwin at ICASSP 2007 in Hawaii, and I kept a very good memory of him since then. I wish him well in his retirement!
As for Qualcomm, it was indeed "rapid innovation" for commercially relevant problems in Comms that pushed it to the front.
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