Motorola finally has its turnaround man. The mobile handset and technology giant has named Dr. Sanjay Jha, the ex- COO of Qualcomm, as its Co-CEO and the CEO of its Mobile Devices business. Jha will lead the company’s cellphone spinoff, scheduled for Q3 2008, and will be entrusted with turning around the once-great cellphone company. Motorola will split into two independent, publicly traded companies, thus separating its struggling mobile-phone business from its broadband and mobility-solutions operations.
Jha, 45, was a rising star at Qualcomm — most recently as COO, which he was promoted to in December, 2006. He has an engineering background, and recently led development of Qualcomm’s Flarion group — a WiMax competitor — as well as CDMA, Qualcomm’s chipset and software division. Before joining Qualcomm in 1994, Jha held design engineering roles with Brooktree Corporation, San Diego and GEC Hirst Research Labs, London.
Jha holds a Ph.D. in electronic and electrical engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. Jha also led the formation of QUALCOMM Technologies & Ventures, where he managed both the technology investment portfolio and the new technology group as senior vice president and general manager.
Indeed, Motorola’s latest appointment has left investors encouraged but assuming the levers of Motorola as a co-CEO has a hard task ahead of Jha in salvaging Motorola’s handset business. Industry experts are banking on his expertise on the technical front, which will ultimately be the key to restoring Motorola’s competitive position as the industry evolves to a next generation of more sophisticated phones.
The Mobile Devices business has been a complete disaster for Motorola without any big hits after the Razr phone. Jha told Gigaom in April that he sees a lot of potential in mcommerce.
Dr Jha, 45, who was born in India and lived in Britain for 15 years before moving to the United States in 1994 to work for Qualcomm as the wireless technology developer has really made his way up.