20. Paul E. Jacobs
20. Paul E. Jacobs
Chairman and CEO, Qualcomm

Jacobs is the rare public company CEO who succeeded his father without stumbling. Qualcomm was founded by MIT engineering professor Irwin Jacobs, who developed the CDMA wireless-communication standard. Paul Jacobs is a distinguished electrical engineer in his own right, with more than 40 wireless-technology and -device patents to his name. Today, all 3G handset makers must pay royalties to Qualcomm if they want their phones to connect to CDMA networks. Sales rose 28.7% over the past year.


By Richard McGill Murphy, contributor - Last updated November 17 2011: 5:58 PM ET