Throughout the industry wide push towards 5G, Qualcomm has been at the forefront of making the most noise about 5G technology. The company has developed patents and technologies that cover both infrastructure and end-points, and the face of that business in recent years has been Cristano Amon. In his position as President, Cristiano has championed the use of the latest generation of wireless connectivity technologies, and has been a key architect of how the company has driven the deployment of 5G involving Qualcomm solutions. Today it has been announced that Cristiano Amon has been voted by the Qualcomm Board of Directors to succeed current CEO Stephen Mollenkopf, 52, upon his retirement later this year. Mollenkopf has been with Qualcomm for 26 years, taking the job as CEO in 2014.
Qualcomm’s business falls into three distinct categories: wireless products, patent licensing, and strategic investment. As president, Cristiano has headed the wireless product and semiconductor division through the development, deployment, and execution of Qualcomm’s worldwide 5G infrastructure initiatives as well as modems, processors, and new markets such as automotive, IoT, and the RF front-end. In his new role, the other divisions will come into his purview. Amon, 50, joined Qualcomm in 1995 as an engineer and has worked up through the semiconductor side company, steering development of Qualcomm’s productization as well as its M&A, and Amon has served as President since January 2018.
“I am honored to be named the next CEO of Qualcomm and appreciate the confidence that Steve and the Board have in me,” said Amon. “Qualcomm is an incredible Company. We have been at the forefront of innovation for decades and I look forward to maintaining this position going forward. In addition to driving the expansion of 5G into mainstream devices and beyond mobile, Qualcomm is set to play a key role in the digital transformation of numerous industries as our technologies become essential to connecting everything to the cloud. The need for our solutions has never been more pronounced and our leadership position has never been more evident. I look forward to working with our 41,000 employees around the world to create technologies that revolutionize the way people live, work and connect with each other.”
2021 comes at a key time for Qualcomm, especially as 5G is gaining traction in key markets and the differential deployment of the two major 5G technologies (sub 6 GHz and mmWave) has become a technological sticking point for both infrastructure and product design. The current global climate has made this difficult, but Qualcomm is pushing ahead with wireless providers to assist in seamless transitions, with roadmaps for each region of the world scaling out over several years. The company recently surged ahead announcing a high-end smartphone processor (Snapdragon 888) as well as the first entry-level 5G SoC (Snapdragon 480) this week, both of which will be in a number of handsets by the end of year covering device price ranges from $200 to over $1000.
Over the past few years during Mollenkopf’s tenure, alongside +170% stock value growth, Qualcomm has weathered a number of legal disputes, such as with Europe, Apple and the FTC, regarding its business models. In 2018, Qualcomm was the target of a takeover by Broadcom, which would have valued the combined company at $117 billion, but was both rejected by Qualcomm and blocked by US regulators due to national security concerns. Amon takes the role with targets that include shipping 500 million mobile SoCs with 5G in 2021.
At this time Qualcomm has not stated if Amon’s direct position will be filled, or by whom, although the company has several months to make that decision. Here at AnandTech we have interviewed Cristiano on a couple of occasions [1,2], as well as SVP/GM of Mobile Technologies, Alex Katouzian , who leads the Mobile division. With backgrounds in engineering, through our discussions with both Cristano and Alex, it is clear how much the underlying technology behind the products has been a key driver of what makes them excited about the direction the company is taking. We hope to get an opportunity to quiz Cristiano later in the year about his intended direction for Qualcomm as he takes the helm.
- Talking Snapdragon: An Interview with Cristano Amon, President of Qualcomm
- Fireside Interview on 5G with Cristano Amon and Alex Katouzian, Qualcomm
- Qualcomm Tech Summit 2020: Interview with Alex Katouzian
- Qualcomm Details The Snapdragon 888: 3rd Gen 5G & Cortex-X1 on 5nm
- Qualcomm Discloses Snapdragon 888 Benchmarks: Promising Performance
- Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 480 – First 5G Low-end SoC
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Author: Dr. Ian Cutress