Qualcomm names Cristiano Amon as new president

SAN DIEGO – The executive who developed Qualcomm’s China strategy was Wednesday named president of the San Diego-based mobile technology company, effective Jan. 4.

Cristiano Amon is executive vice president of Qualcomm Technologies Inc. and president of QCT, which handles the company’s semiconductor business. He will replace Derek Aberle as president of Qualcomm Inc., and remain in charge of QCT.

“Cristiano’s unique mix of business, engineering and operational skills and experience make him ideally suited to continue driving Qualcomm’s technology and leadership positions across mobile, IoT, automotive, edge computing and networking — and lead the transition to 5G,” said Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf.

Amon joined Qualcomm as an engineer in 1995 and is credited by the company with building the chipset strategy and business in China and nearby markets. Qualcomm said his nine-year tenure at QCT has produced “a period of unprecedented growth and innovation for Qualcomm and the industry.”

Amon’s appointment comes at a critical time for Qualcomm, one of the few major corporations based in San Diego. The company has been targeted for a hostile takeover by rival chipmaker Broadcom and is embroiled in a legal dispute with Apple.

Last month, Qualcomm signed $12 billion worth of deals with three Chinese manufacturers of mobile handsets. However, the company’s royalty practices have led to scrutiny by regulators in China and other countries, and in 2015, Qualcomm paid $975 million to end a probe by China into alleged anti-competitive practices.