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Qualcomm Names New President, Fills Out Executive Suite

The mobile chip maker is promoting Derek Aberle to fill the role that was vacated when Steve Mollenkopf took over as CEO.

Qualcomm, the world's largest provider of chips for such mobile devices as smartphones and tablets, is rounding out its executive lineup by naming Derek Aberle as its new president.

Aberle, who had been executive vice president and group president and played an important role in Qualcomm's licensing program, takes over for Steve Mollenkopf, who earlier this month officially took over as the company's CEO.

Mollenkopf had been Qualcomm's COO, and late last year his name surfaced as a possible CEO candidate at Microsoft, taking over for Steve Ballmer. He dropped out of contention in December 2013 when Qualcomm quickly named him as CEO Paul Jacobs' successor. Jacobs is now the company's executive chairman.

Aberle has been at Qualcomm since 2000 after representing the company as an outside attorney for several years before that.

"Under his leadership, Qualcomm Technology Licensing has more than doubled its revenues and profits, completed key license agreement extensions, successfully defended challenges to our business model and established Qualcomm's 4G licensing program," Mollenkopf said in a statement.

Qualcomm has seen its fortunes grow along with the rise of smartphones over the past several years. In the last three months of 2013, the company's sales grew 10 percent from the same period in 2012, reaching $6.62 billion, while new income came in at $1.88 billion, a 2 percent drop year-to-year but a 25 percent increase over the previous quarter.

Smartphones sales continue to rise, passing the 1 billion-units-shipped mark in 2013 and showing 39.2 percent growth over the previous year, according to IDC analysts. However, they forecast that the growth pattern in smartphones will slow to 8.3 percent in 2017 and 6.2 percent in 2018 as mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe become saturated.

In an interview with Bloomberg March 4, Mollenkopf said he is looking into such growth areas as China and the Internet of things, as well as developing technologies that will persuade smartphone users to continue buying new products.

"You don't ever want to get comfortable or you'll have a lot of problems," he told the news site. "The impatience with where things stand today and wanting to push it forward is very common in the company."