Saturday, December 5, 2009

Odd blast from the past

My Google News watch on Qualcomm today turned up this interesting news story:
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM) Appoints Rich Sulpizio as President and CEO

Ft Lauderdale, Florida 12/05/2009 12:55 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM) is welcoming Rich Sulpizio as its new President and CEO. Mr. Sulpizio has previously served the company as its President and COO. His new responsibilities will include the provision of strategic and operational leadership to grow the company’s market share worldwide.
No, Paul Jacobs isn’t suddenly unemployed: he still has his day job.

Instead, a more accurate account is given here:

Qualcomm Appoints Rich Sulpizio President And CEO Of Qualcomm Enterprise Services
12/2/2009 4:20 PM ET

(RTTNews) - Wednesday, Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM: News ) appointed Rich Sulpizio as president and chief executive officer of Qualcomm Enterprise Services. Sulpizio rejoins Qualcomm with more than 10 years of leadership experience in the Company, including previously serving as Qualcomm's president and chief operating officer. In his new role, Sulpizio will provide strategic and operational leadership to grow QES' market share globally. Sulpizio will succeed Bob Walton, who has decided to look for other opportunities.

Sulpizio most recently served as president of MediaFLO USA Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, overseeing the development and deployment of MediaFLO technology, and previously as interim president of Qualcomm China. From 1998 to 2001, he led the Company as president and chief operating officer.

Qualcomm has only had two CEOs, both named Jacobs. However, in 2000-2001, Qualcomm was discussing spinning off the QCT division, with Sulpizio nominated to be CEO of the firm dubbed “Spinco”. In 2000 — as in 2006 — part of the motivation was to avoid giving 3G IP holders a hostage to take in bare-knuckles negotiations over QTL royalties.

Another explanation I heard, however, was that the split would allow Paul Jacobs to become CEO of QTL while the older and more proven Sulpizio would take QCT. Instead, Jacobs fils became CEO of the whole enchilada back in 2005.

I have not had a chance to interview Sulpizio yet. His decision to come back appears unusual, particularly since Paul Jacobs appeared to have cleared out almost any executive associated with his father’s leadership. (CTO Roberto Padovani being a notable exception.)

Certainly I find it encouraging that Sulpizio and Jacobs have overcome whatever natural rivalry they had a year ago — perhaps encouraged by the board, which still includes some faces who worked with Sulpizio in his earlier QCOM stint.

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