Qualcomm says COO Steve Mollenkopf to become CEO in March

Qualcomm's new CEO

Chipmaker Qualcomm said Chief Operating Officer Steve Mollenkopf will become chief executive in March, replacing Paul Jacobs who will become executive chairman.

Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that Microsoft was considering Mollenkopf as a candidate for chief executive as it reaches the final stages of a process to find a replacement for retiring Steve Ballmer.

Mollenkopf will become CEO on March 4, after Qualcomm's annual shareholder meeting.

(Read more: Ford board aims to pin down CEO Mulally's plans)

Steve Mollenkopf
Emmanuel Dunand | AFP | Getty Images

Jacobs has been CEO since 2005, taking over from his father Irwin who co-founded Qualcomm in 1985.

Mollenkopf, who has been with Qualcomm for almost 20 years, led the company in its $3.1 billion acquisition of radio frequency chipmaker Atheros Communications Inc in 2011, its biggest acquisition.

Qualcomm shares were up slightly before the bell after closing at $72.73 on the Nasdaq on Thursday. Microsoft shares were marginally higher after closing at $37.22. (Click here for the latest quote.)

(Read more: Mulallyeffect behind Microsoft's stock surge: Cramer)

By Reuters