Qualcomm has replaced the executive chairman of its board of directors, its founder's son and former CEO Paul Jacobs, with an independent director.

The company said March 9 it was discontinuing the executive chairman role and named independent director Jeffrey Henderson to head the board as non-executive chairman.

The move comes as Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) attempts to fight off an acquisition bid by rival chipmaker Broadcom, which has offered $117 billion for the San Diego tech giant.

Paul Jacobs, who has been executive chairman since 2014 and on the board since 2005, will remain a director, the company said.

Henderson, who joined the board in 2016, was chief financial officer of Cardinal Health Inc. from 2005 to 2014. Prior he held management positions at Eli Lilly and General Motors.

He is also an advisory director to Boston-based private equity firm Berkshire Partners and a director of Halozyme Therapeutics and FibroGen. Henderson has an electrical engineering degree from Kettering University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Qualcomm shareholders were slated to vote earlier this week on whether to give Broadcom, a Singapore-based company, a majority on Qualcomm's board of directors. But a U.S. government panel on March 5 ordered the March 6 meeting delayed 30 days over national security concerns. The vote is now scheduled for April 5.

Prior to joining the Qualcomm board, Paul Jacobs was the company's CEO from 2005 to 2014, group president over its wireless and internet units from 2001 to 2005 and executive vice president from 2000 to 2005.

Irwin Jacobs, then a UC San Diego professor, founded Qualcomm in 1985. The firm in January reported first-quarter earnings of about $6 billion, beating Wall Street estimates. But profits were down significantly, primarily the result of the company's ongoing legal battle with Apple over licensing fees.

Reach reporter Sarah de Crescenzo at sarahd@sdbj.com.