BlackBerry continues to clean house with Alicia Keys signing off

Summary:Did anyone remember (or even know in the first place) that the singer was the "creative director" for the phone maker?


Under the reins of new CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has been trimming the fat left and right in order to get things back into shape in 2014.

The beleaguered phone maker's latest move is likely one that won't surprise anyone tracking the company's bottom line.

Canadian news network CTV is reporting that BlackBerry is "parting ways" with singer Alicia Keys, who signed on a year ago as "global creative director" for the mobile brand. The departure is effective on January 30.

It is not clear whether or not BlackBerry outright fired Keys, her contract ended, or she just left on her own.

Regardless, it's hard to quantify or even assume that her endorsement deal did anything beneficial for BlackBerry whatsoever.

Given the continuous stream of bad news coming out of the Waterloo, Ontario headquarters, ranging from major layoffs (even at the executive level) to poor quarterly earnings reports, Keys's contract arguably did nothing more than deplete more money from the dwindling reserves.

Having a celebrity creative director also doesn't really fit in line with Chen's agenda for 2014.

Published on CNBC earlier this week , Chen revealed his business strategy and vision for the coming year, which revolves around three key parts: enterprise services, BlackBerry Messenger, and the QNX operating system.

Essentially, BlackBerry will concentrate on what it already does best -- serving business and government customers -- likely shuttling away any rumors or hopes (if there are any) about new consumer sector projects.

Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones, Social Enterprise, Tech Industry


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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