BLACKBERRY CEO THORSTEN HEINS IS OUT

BlackBerry
announced todaythat CEO Thorsten Heins will step down and the company is looking for a replacement.

John S. Chen will act as interim CEO of BlackBerry. Chen will also be the executive chair of BlackBerry’s board of directors.

The company has also abandoned plans to go private.

BlackBerry accepted a $US4.7 billion offer from private equity firm Fairfax Financial Holdings to go private a few weeks ago. However, that deal fell through.

Instead, Fairfax and others announced they will invest $US1 billion in BlackBerry. As part of the stipulations of that investment, Heins has to step down and the board has to look for a replacement.

Heins took over BlackBerry as CEO in January 2012, replacing co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. Heins led the final development of BlackBerry 10, a new mobile operating system that was supposed to save the company and help it regain smartphone market share it lost to Apple and devices running Google’s Android.

But BlackBerry 10 faced several delays and didn’t launch until January 2013. Since then, phones running BlackBerry 10 like the Z10 and Q10 haven’t sold very well.

Heins often gave rosy predictions about BlackBerry’s transition in the shaky months following BlackBerry 10’s launch, but it quickly became clear that the new software and devices it ran on weren’t hits with consumers.

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