BlackBerry's COO And CMO Are Out

BlackBerry announceed a management shakeup this morning. Its COO and CMO are out of the company. Its CFO has been replaced.
Kristian Tear was BlackBerry’s COO. Frank Boulben was the CMO. James Yersh will replace Brian Bidulka as CFO.

The news comes as part as a larger reorganization of BlackBerry. The company’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, left the company earlier this month. Heins was replaced by John S. Chen, who is acting as interim CEO.

All of these shakeups are due in part because of a failed effort by BlackBerry to sell itself and go private. Equity firm Fairfax Financial Holdings made a $US4.7 billion offer to buy BlackBerry, but the deal fell through. Instead, Fairfax invested $US1 billion in BlackBerry and Heins left the company.

The larger story here is that BlackBerry has failed to regain any of the ground it lost in the consumer smartphone market. In January, the company unveiled BlackBerry 10, its new mobile operating system designed for devices with touchscreens. BlackBerry 10 debuted on two phones, the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. But BlackBerry still had difficulty selling those devices. Most phones it sold ran its older operating system called BlackBerry 7.

Here’s the press release:

BlackBerry Limited BBRY -0.64%CA:BB +2.84% , a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that as part of the on-going reorganization of BlackBerry, Kristian Tear, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer, and Frank Boulben, the Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, will leave the Company. BlackBerry also announced that James Yersh will replace Brian Bidulka as its Chief Financial Officer. Yersh, who has worked at BlackBerry since 2008, previously served as Senior Vice President, Controller and as the Company’s head of Compliance. Bidulka will stay on as a special advisor to the CEO for the remainder of the fiscal year to assist with the transition.

“I thank Kristian and Frank for their efforts on behalf of BlackBerry. I look forward to working more directly with the talented teams of engineers, and the sales and marketing teams around the world to facilitate the BlackBerry turn-around and to drive innovation,” said John Chen, Executive Chair and CEO of BlackBerry. “I also thank Brian for his eight years of dedicated service to BlackBerry. I look forward to working with James and his Finance team as we move forward, execute on our plans and deliver long-term value for our shareholders.”

Chen added, “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.”

BlackBerry also announced today that Roger Martin, a Board member since 2007, has resigned. “Our Board has benefitted from Roger’s expertise and insights over the past six years and we wish him the best,” said Barbara Stymiest, Board Member and Former Chair of the Board.

James Yersh has more than 15 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries. Yersh previously served as the Senior Vice President, Controller and head of Compliance for BlackBerry. Prior to joining BlackBerry in 2008, he held various senior positions at Cognos Incorporated and Deloitte.

Third Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results Conference Call Details

BlackBerry will discuss additional details around this announcement when it reports results for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 on December 20th, 2013. A conference call and live webcast will be held beginning at 8 am ET, which can be accessed by dialling 1-800-814-4859 or through your BlackBerry(R) 10 smartphone, personal computer or BlackBerry(R) PlayBook(TM) tablet at A replay of the conference call will also be available at approximately 10 am by dialling (+1)416-640-1917 and entering pass code 4612570# or by clicking the link above on your BlackBerry(R) 10 smartphone, personal computer or BlackBerry(R) PlayBook(TM) tablet. This replay will be available until midnight ET January 3, 2014.

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