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BlackBerry Shakes Up Its C-Level

Sarah Thomas
11/25/2013
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BlackBerry is making changes to its top-level management, announcing on Monday that its COO and CMO are leaving, and its CFO has been replaced.

BlackBerry COO Kristian Tear and CMO Frank Boulben are both leaving the company, while James Yersh will replace current CFO Brian Bidulka. Yersh has worked at BlackBerry since 2008, formerly as the SVP, Controller, and as the company's head of compliance. Bidulka is staying on as a special advisor to the CEO for the remainder of the fiscal year to help with the transition.

These are the first big changes interim CEO John Chen has made since replacing Thorsten Heins earlier this month, but they are likely the first of many as the Canadian company looks to turn itself around. (See Time to Flip BlackBerry's Handset Kill Switch.)

In announcing the changes, Chen said in a statement that BlackBerry has a strong cash position and "continues, by a significant margin, to be the top provider of trusted and secure mobile device management solutions to enterprise customers around the world."

"Building on this core strength, and in conjunction with these management changes, I will continue to align my senior management team and organizational structure, and refine the company's strategy to ensure we deliver the best devices, mobile security and device management through BES 10, provide multi-platform messaging solutions with BBM, and expand adoption of QNX embedded systems," he continued.

Why this matters
After failing to ink a deal to go private with Fairfax, BlackBerry brought in Chen and $1 billion in additional funding to attempt to turn things around at the company, which has struggled to keep up with the competition. Chen hasn't specifically outlined how he plans to restore BlackBerry's mobile business, nor who will fill the now vacant COO and CMO spots, but more may be revealed on the company's third-quarter earnings call on December 20.

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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hlim431
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hlim431,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/14/2014 | 8:07:04 AM
Re: COO & CMO Candidates
Late last year Samsung parted with their high-flying Chief Products Officer, who helped Samsung get on the map with the likes of the Galaxy S3, but the Korean company probably wanted a Korean to do the job... He is a brilliant SVP from Sprint who understands wireless telcos. 
sam masud
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sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/26/2013 | 11:34:07 AM
Re: COO & CMO Candidates
Frankly, I cannot think of a company in our industry that has lost so much market share and managed to make a comeback. But would be happy if someone can point to a company that pulled off such a turnaround.
theschnack
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theschnack,
User Rank: Moderator
11/26/2013 | 12:42:52 AM
Re: COO & CMO Candidates
They need to differentiate. Not by their devices, but by their strengths -

Enterprise + Security + Communications software + Not being American = niche differentiation in secure, private communications .  That would be a stronger market than they have today....
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
11/25/2013 | 1:02:34 PM
Re: COO & CMO Candidates
I'd be looking for an ex-big name from Microsoft, Oracle or SAP for the COO? Anyone ex-Apple or big in Android for CMO?
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
11/25/2013 | 10:57:15 AM
Re: COO & CMO Candidates
I think it will definitely need to hire someone with enterprise experience. I hadn't heard of Scroon before, and doubt he or she will come from it. I'm thinking it has to be another big name from an enterprise software company akin to Chen from Sybase. That will show the market it is serious about competing in that space, and the new CMO could go to work improving its image there.
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
11/25/2013 | 10:51:28 AM
Re: COO & CMO Candidates
Re: the CMO job, could the Scroon deal suggest a direction? Someone with experience in enterprise social who might also be able to make the world understand the relevance of BlackBerry devices in that context?
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
11/25/2013 | 10:28:01 AM
COO & CMO Candidates
So any guesses on who might fill the CMO and COO slots? Someone internal or external? 
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