John Chen drops ‘interim’ from BlackBerry CEO title

Blackberry Executive Chair and CEO John S. Chen

When John Chen was tapped to replace outgoing CEO Thorsten Heins at BlackBerry in late 2013, he did so with the title of interim CEO. The plan had been to look for a permanent CEO but the company apparently likes what Chen has been doing of late enough that it has decided to make him the permanent CEO. Confirmation was made by BlackBerry spokesman Adam Emery:

“After earnings, and again in meetings with media and analysts at C.E.S., John said that he would be BlackBerry’s C.E.O. until the company is back on solid financial footing. The search for a CEO has been put on the back burner for now.”

From the moment he took on the CEO role, Chen moved quickly to put his stamp on the company. A number of changes took place at the senior executive level, including the appointment of Ron Louks to lead the devices business unit. He also penned a number of open letters to outline his strategy and reiterate to customers that BlackBerry was not going anywhere. He also struck a five-year outsourcing deal that will see Foxconn take over the design and manufacturing of its BlackBerry smartphones for emerging markets.

Chen’s plan is to have BlackBerry return to profitability in its 2016 fiscal year. To achieve this goal, the company will refocus on the enterprise space along with services and solutions such as mobile-device management, BBM and QNX. It is not exiting the device market but it will play a much smaller role going forward.

Source : The New York Times