Qualcomm has made their chief operating executive, Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive officer, adding him to their Board of Directors. It was announced last Friday that he will replace former CEO Paul Jacobs, who will remain as chairmen of the company's Board for the time being.

Mollenkopf had been in line to eventually succeed Jacobs, but the plan appears to have been put into motion before time, possibly in order to stop the senior executive from being poached by Microsoft. The software giant is looking for a candidate to replace retiring CEO Steve Ballmer and Mollenkopf was rumoured to have been among the shortlisted few to replace him.

"Our executives are very talented and very sought after," Jacobs said, when asked by Reuters whether the promotion was related to Microsoft's impending offer. "The timing is a little faster than we originally planned but the key thing was to make sure we kept management continuity". Jacobs declined to discuss Microsoft or any offers they may have made directly.

"Honoured"

In his 20 years, Mollenkopf has held a variety of leadership positions within the firm. It was under his guidance that the company became the world's largest mobile chipset supplier and the global leader in LTE technology. The new CEO played a critical role in the development of a number of new technologies and in strengthening Qualcomm's position in the global market.

"I am honoured to have been chosen by the Board of Directors to lead Qualcomm into the next exciting era of the Company." Mollenkopf said. "I look forward to working with our executive team and our employees in driving growth for our company."

Mollenkopf, 44, will take the reins in March, while Qualcomm deals with a market shift from United States to China, where the company also faces an antitrust investigation.