Rumored Microsoft CEO candidate gets promoted at Qualcomm

There appears to be no better way to get your current company to show just how much it loves you than by becoming the source of rumors that you're in the running to be the next CEO of Microsoft

On Thursday came word via Bloomberg that Qualcomm Chief Operating Officer Steve Mollenkopf was a candidate to succeed Steve Ballmer, who is slated to step down some time next year. 

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Then, faster than you can say, "Mister Mxyzptlk," Qualcomm announced Friday that Mollenkopf would be its new CEO.

Following Mollenkopf approval by the Qualcomm board on Friday, director Sherry Lansing issued this statement: 

"With today's announcement, we enable a smooth transition to a proven executive in Steve Mollenkopf, while providing for ongoing executive guidance and Board-level leadership from Paul Jacobs. Qualcomm's Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Steve Mollenkopf to the board of directors and his transition to CEO. We have the highest degree of confidence that his leadership will further expand Qualcomm's impressive record of innovation and continued stockholder value creation."

Mollenkopf will replace Jacobs as chief executive in March 2014. Jacobs will stick around as executive chair of the board. 

This follows recent word that former front-runner Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, is fading back into the pack. Mulally's board has repeatedly said he would stick around through 2014, which would make it tricky for him to move into the shoes of his personal friend Ballmer at Microsoft.  

Meanwhile, other rumored names for the Microsoft job include, well, just about anyone you can think of at this point. Most analysts just seem to be throwing darts at a board. 

The most frequently named people: former Nokia Corp. CEO Stephen Elop; Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg; and former VMware CEO Paul Maritz; and the Great Gazoo


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