Qualcomm set for board refresh, as Apple deal mooted - Mobile World Live

Qualcomm set for board refresh, as Apple deal mooted

19 SEP 2018

Qualcomm is reportedly looking to add new directors to its board, as it was suggested a settlement in a long running patent spat with Apple is looking more likely.

Patent pact
Bloomberg reported Steve Mollenkopf, the company’s CEO, said the legal dispute with Apple is at a stage where both sides have an increasing incentive to settle. This week, a second trial between the two kicked off before the US International Trade Commission, and a hearing is also underway in Germany.

The executive said: “traditionally, legal milestones create an environment for both parties to change their perspective”. He also mooted that, once the dispute was out of the way, there was no reason the pair could not work together again: “it makes sense that the technology leader in mobile should be a partner with the product leader”.

Board revamp
Reuters reported two new names are in the frame for the Qualcomm board: Irene Rosenfeld, former CEO of food company Mondelez International; and Martin Anstice, CEO of semiconductor tools company Lam Research. This will see the board expanded to 14 members from 12 and follows the appointment of executives with experience from Comcast and Ford.

Qualcomm has come under investor pressure after rebuffing an acquisition offer from rival Broadcom, which was subsequently blocked by the US authorities, and failing in its bid to acquire NXP Semiconductors. The Apple spat is also ongoing, and the company continues to come under pressure from the European Commission.

Earlier this year, the company’s board received lukewarm support at its AGM, with Institutional Shareholder Services recommending a protest vote for six Broadcom nominees even though they had officially been withdrawn from the process.

Paul Jacobs, former chairman and CEO, was also reported to be making progress in lining up support for a takeover bid, although so far this has not come to fruition. Jacobs recently launched a new company focused on 5G alongside two other former Qualcomm leaders.

Reuters said more fresh blood may also join the board as Thomas Horton, the former chairman of American Airlines, may not seek re-election in 2019 after serving ten years on the board.

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