BlackBerry ousts two more top execs

Faith Merino · December 16, 2013 · Short URL:

The company's restructuring program has already dispatched three other executives

Another two bite the dust. BlackBerry’s interim CEO John Chen is continuing his restructuring plans, which, for now, consist of a complete teardown of BlackBerry’s executive team. VP of Strategic Alliances Chris Wormland and EVP of Global Sales and Regional Marketing Rick Costanzo have become the latest casualties, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The news comes less than a month after the company ousted Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear, Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben, and Chief Financial Officer Brian Bidulka. And the rivers will turn red with blood…

Wormland, who has been with BlackBerry since 2000 and was one of the inventors of BlackBerry Messenger, will depart at the end of December. Costanzo, another long-term employee, will reportedly leave in early 2014.

Following the reneged buyout deal in October, Thorsten Heins stepped down and John Chen, former CEO of Sybase, was installed as interim CEO. Chen warned employees that brutal restructuring was on the horizon and reportedly told them that “things are going to get worse before they get better.”

While Chen is supposedly charged with the task of finding a permanent CEO, it’s looking like he may be it. The company 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. He also has a tidy little golden parachute: if terminated without cause, Chen stands to gain $6 million.

To put that into context, Yahoo paid Marissa Mayer $36.6 million in 2012 to turn the spiraling company around. The CEO of Walmart made $20.7 million in 2012, while the outgoing CEO of McDonald’s made $27.7 million.

So maybe $3 million a year isn’t much to brag about, despite the heavy lifting Chen is going to have to do. Notably, it’s the kind of heavy lifting that would normally be reserved for a permanent CEO, not a temporary one, so my money is on Chen being a permanent fixture at BlackBerry.

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. All 80 positions were in Waterloo.

This Friday, the company will be announcing its third quarter earnings. Analysts are expecting a loss of $0.44 per share on $1.58 billion in revenue. In Q3 2012, the company took a loss of $0.22 per share on $2.73 billion.  

BlackBerry shares were up 1.89% at the close Monday to $6.20. 


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