Two ECE alumni were recognized in an Electronics Weekly list of 2014’s top semiconductor CEOs. Steve Mollenkopf (MSE EE ’93), CEO of Qualcomm, Inc., and Syed B. Ali (MSE EE ’81), founder, president, and CEO of Cavium, Inc., took two of the list’s top ten spots.
Syed B. Ali is founder, chairman, president & CEO of Cavium, Inc., a publicly listed company that provides highly integrated semiconductor processors that enable intelligent networking, communications, storage, video, and security applications to worldwide markets. Founded in 2000, Cavium was named the 5th fastest growing technology company in the United States by Forbes Magazine.
Mr. Ali has over 25 years of experience in the semiconductor business, having worked in various roles in design engineering, marketing/sales and business management. During his career he has built several successful businesses and companies. From 1998-2000, he was founding team member and vice president of marketing and sales at Malleable Technologies, a semiconductor company that developed Digital Signal Processors for delivering voice over IP networks. It was subsequently acquired by PMC-Sierra, a communication chip company in 2000. From 1994-1998, Mr. Ali was executive director at Samsung Electronics, where he played a major role in starting and growing Samsung’s Flash memory and CPU businesses.
Mr. Ali has also held various positions in product design and development at Wafer Scale Integration (acquired by ST Microelectronics, Italy), Tandem Computer (a division of Hewlett Packard), and American Microsystems Inc. Syed Ali is the holder of five U.S. patents and has authored or co-authored papers in the IEEE Journal of Solid State Circuits, International Electron Devices Meeting and the VLSI Circuits Conference.
Steve Mollenkopf serves as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Qualcomm Incorporated, leading the company’s divisions, business operations, market expansion and development areas. Qualcomm is one of the leading semiconductor companies in the world specializing in mobile and computing technologies, especially for cellular and connected consumer electronics.
Mr. Mollenkopf joined Qualcomm in 1994 and was a leading contributor to the Globalstar project, which provides satellite phone coverage when terrestrial coverage is unavailable. He joined the Qualcomm Mobile & Computing (QMC, formerly QCT) team in 1999, where he played a central role in developing QMC’s roadmap and led the development and commercialization of the 3GPP family of air interface technologies. Today, QMC is the world’s largest fabless semiconductor producer and the largest provider of wireless chipset and software technology, which powers the majority of all 3G devices commercially available today.
Under Steve’s leadership, QMC completed the $3B acquisition of Atheros, the Company’s largest acquisition to date, to accelerate the expansion of Qualcomm’s technologies and platforms to new businesses beyond cellular and to provide access to new growth opportunities.
Since 2008, Mr. Mollenkopf has led QMC while also serving as Executive Vice President and Group President of Qualcomm, Inc. He was named President and COO in 2011, and also serves as a member of the Executive Committee, helping to drive Qualcomm’s overall global strategy.
A published IEEE author, Mr. Mollenkopf holds patents in areas such as power estimation and measurement, multi-standard transmitter system and wireless communication transceiver technology. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Semiconductor Industry Association and also serves as Co-Chairman of the Global Semiconductor Alliance Board of Directors.