Qualcomm Inc. announced on Dec. 20 that company co-founder Irwin M. Jacobs will leave his seat on the board at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on March 6.

Following the meeting, Jacobs will take the title of founding chairman and CEO emeritus.

“When we first started Qualcomm, I told my wife Joan that, if we were lucky, we might grow to 100 employees,” Jacobs said in a prepared statement.

Today Jacobs can enjoy the irony. With his six co-founders, he built what would become San Diego’s largest company. Qualcomm reported in November that it had annual revenue just shy of $15 billion. As of December, it employed more than 22,000 people.

Jacobs served as CEO from Qualcomm’s founding in July 1985 to June 2005, and as its chairman from its founding until March 2009. Paul Jacobs succeeded his father as chairman and CEO. Both executives hold doctorates in electrical engineering.

The elder Dr. Jacobs currently serves as chairman of the boards of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the National Academy of Engineering.

— Brad Graves