BlackBerry continues to restructure with new hires

Interim CEO John Chen brings on some of his former colleagues from SAP and Sybase

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 19, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/33de

The shakeup at BlackBerry, which began with the ouster of CEO Thorsten Heins back in October, has allowed interim CEO John Chen to restructure the company. And that has meant cleaning house by getting rid a of a number of BlackBerry executives.

But the company obviously can't go on without those positions being filled, and so there has to be a second part to the process; one where Chen begins to put his mark on the company by bringing on new people to get it back on the right track.

So, in the last couple of days, Chen has started to just that, bringing on a number of his old colleagues to come work at what will most likely be his permanent new company.

On Tuesday, BlackBerry brought on John Sims, President of SAP’s Mobile Services business, as its the new president of global enterprise services. Then on Wednesday, the company announced two more hiresJames Mackey was appointed as BlackBerry's Executive Vice President for Corporate Development and Strategic Planning, while Mark Wilson was named Senior Vice President of Marketing.

Mackey is the former head of Corporate Development at SAP, while Wilson was formerly Senior Vice President of Corporate and Field Marketing at Sybase. Sybase is, of course, the company that Chen was CEO of before it was purchased by SAP. After the takeover, Chen served as president of SAP's mobile services business.

“Jim and Mark are important appointments for BlackBerry as they bring extensive experience and add the necessary leadership and depth that will help us drive our transformation,” Chen said in a statement.

"I have worked extensively with both of them in the past, have the utmost respect for their experience and accomplishments, and we have developed close and trusted relationships with each other that will enable us to cohesively manage the changes required to reshape BlackBerry.”

While Chen is supposedly being charged with the task of finding a permanent CEO, it is looking pretty likely that he may be the one to get the permanent job.

BlackBerry is giving Chen 13 million shares of restricted stock, which is currently worth some $85 million, along with a $1 million annual base salary and a performance bonus of up to $2 million a year. And, if he is terminated without cause, Chen stands to gain $6 million.

The fact that he has begun surrounding himself with people who he knows, and trusts, may be the surest sign yet that Chen believes that this will be his new home.

Cuts at BlackBerry

The new BlackBerry is going to have a lot of new faces, and has already seen a lot of the old ones leave.

Last month Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear, Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben, and Chief Financial Officer Brian Bidulka all lost their jobs.

And earlier this week the company dumped two more of itx executives: VP of Strategic Alliances Chris Wormland and EVP of Global Sales and Regional Marketing Rick Costanzo.

But it has not only been the people on the top that have suffered. Last week, the company confirmed it had laid off 80 people as part of its ongoing efforts to cut 4,500 positions, or 40% of its total workforce. 

(Image source: http://berryflow.com)

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