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BlackBerry purges continue - more execs sacked

BlackBerry purges continue - more execs sacked

New interim CEO is systematically removing the members of Heins' regime

BlackBerry is continuing to shuffle the deckchairs on the Titanic by removing COO, Kristian Tear, and CMO Frank Boulben.

Interim CEO, John Chen, who was appointed on November 4 after the ousting of Thorsten Heins, hasn't hesitated to pull the trigger on two of Heins' key offsiders, as part of a full on executive clean out.

Already the BlackBerry corporate website looks bare - it has now been stripped to just three executive members (at the time of print), Chen, new CFO James Yersh (his predecessor Brian Bidulka is handing over the reigns and will depart at year end) and CLO Steven Zipperstein.

Another board member Roger Martin, also resigned.

The endless delays to BB10, which saw it launch years after its Android and Apple competitors saw the company fall out of relevance in the smartphone market. It's older BB7 models continue to sell well in the third world, and the UK. Despite this, neither Heins, Tear or Boulben could turn around a company that has floundered over the past 24 months, while governments, businesses and consumers looked elsewhere.

Boulben had been much criticised for the terrible BlackBerry 10 advertising campaign, which saw bizarre videos released of staff members such as head of developer relations performing terrible covers of songs such as Tom Petty's The Waiting (an attempt at laughing at the BB10 delays?), and similarly bizarre superbowl ads that didn't explain anything about the Z10 smartphone's capabilities.

“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.”

No one seems to know what is actually going on at BlackBerry, which up until Chen's appointment looked like it would be sold, or broken up for pieces. Indeed, most analysts assumed that was the entire point of appointing Thorsten Heins in 2010. After failing at courting multiple suitors, it looked sold as part of a $5bn bid by its largest shareholder, Fairfax holdings - which was actually signed off and agreed to - but even this fell to bits.

BlackBerry will report its third quarter results just before Christmas on December 20th. It is not expected to be a pretty picture after the flops of its Z10 and Z30 smartphones, launched earlier this year. However Chen remains optimistic.

"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.”

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Tags Thorsten HeinsFrank BoulbenKristian TearRIMz10Z30bb10Jim BalsillieMike LazaridisJohn ChenBlackberry

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