Motorola appoints Qualcomm exec to head handset unit

Motorola snagged Sanjay Jha, the COO of Qualcomm and a star of the wireless industry, to head its handset division as that unit prepares to become an independent company, an AFP report said.

Jha will also be co-chief executive of the parent company, sharing the responsibility with incumbent Greg Brown until the spinoff next year. Brown will take responsibility for Motorola's other two divisions.

Brown said Jha 'brings a whole host of different ingredients to the table,' including customer relationships, technical expertise and leadership abilities.

Jha, 45, has a doctorate in electronic and electrical engineering. In addition to being Qualcomm's chief operating officer, he was president of the Qualcomm division that made chips for cell phones.

Analysts uniformly praised the appointment.

Motorola's handset division has been posting heavy losses for the last few years. Brown has controlled the unit directly since early this year. Stu Reed, its last president, left the company in March.