Effective October 1, 2012, QUALCOMM Incorporated completed a corporate reorganization in which the assets of certain of its businesses and groups, as well as the stock of certain of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, were contributed to Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM Incorporated. Learn more about these changes

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Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs

Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus

Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs is founding chairman and CEO Emeritus for Qualcomm. As CEO through 2005 and Chairman through 2009, he led the growth from startup to Fortune 500 Company. As CEO, Dr. Jacobs oversaw Qualcomm’s revolutionary innovations in Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), a technology fundamental to today’s 3G mobile wireless standards.

Dr. Jacobs previously served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of LINKABIT Corporation, leading the development of Very Small Aperture Earth Terminals (VSATs) and the VideoCipher® satellite-to-home TV system. LINKABIT merged with M/A-COM in August 1980, and Dr. Jacobs served as executive vice president and a member of the board of directors until his resignation in April 1985. Over 100 San Diego communications companies trace their roots to LINKABIT.

From 1959 to 1966, Dr. Jacobs was an assistant, then associate professor of electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From 1966 to 1972 he served as professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). While at MIT, Dr. Jacobs co-authored with Jack Wozencraft a textbook in digital communications Principles of Communication Engineering. First published in 1965, the book remains in use today.

Dr. Jacobs holds fourteen CDMA patents and received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1956 from Cornell University and master of science and doctor of science degrees in electrical engineering from MIT in 1957 and 1959, respectively.

Dr. Jacobs was named Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Salk Institute In November 2006 and Chair of the National Academy of Engineering in July 2008.

He is the recipient of numerous industry, education and business awards, including:

  • Fellow of IEEE, 1974
  • National Academy of Engineering, 1982
  • The National Medal of Technology Award, 1994, the highest award bestowed by the president of the United States, for extraordinary achievements in the commercialization of technology
  • The IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, 1995
  • The American Electronics Association (AEA) Medal of Achievement Award, 1998
  • Radio Communication Report (RCR) Wireless Hall of Fame, March 2000
  • Honorary doctorate degree, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, June 2000
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, April 2001
  • Bower Award in Business Leadership, the Franklin Institute, April 2001
  • Honorary doctorate degree, University of Pennsylvania, May 2002
  • Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award, The Fabless Semiconductor Association (FSA), December 2003
  • Dorothy I. Height Chair’s Award, Leadership Council on Civil Rights, May 2004
  • Honorary doctorate degree, Waterloo University, June 2005
  • Honorary Professorship, Beijing University of Posts & Telecom (BUPT), October 2005
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (for 25 years in telecommunications), Financial Times, Dec 2005
  • Honorary doctorate degree, San Diego State University, August 2006
  • Honorary doctorate degree, University of San Diego, May 2007
  • IEEE/ Royal Society of Edinburgh Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award with Andrew Viterbi, June 2007
  • Robert N. Noyce Award, Semiconductor Industry Association, November 2007
  • Honorary doctorate degree, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, May 2008
  • Visionary Award, SDForum, June 2008
  • Inaugural Hall of Fame Award, IEEE VTC, September 2009
  • Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame, October 2009
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), February 2010
  • Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Tel Aviv University, May 2010
  • Ernst and Young, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011
  • EE Times, ACE Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011
  • Marconi Society Prize, 2011

He and his wife Joan have been cited by Business Week and Chronicle of Philanthropy among the 50 Most-Generous Philanthropists in the United States.