BlackBerry India chief quits

Summary:BlackBerry India is seeking a new managing director just months after the successful launch of its Z10 in the local market.

BlackBerry India managing director, Sunil Dutt, has quit just over a year after he first took up the job amid reports he was planning to leave after the recent local launch of Z10.

Executive vice president for global sales, Rick Costanzo, will steer the ship until a successor is found. In a statement supplied to ZDNet, the smartphone vendor's India and Greater China director corporate communications, Varghese Thomas, confirmed on Friday that Dutt "left his position...with immediate effect".

"India is an extremely important market for BlackBerry and our aim is to continue to build on our recent momentum with the launch of BlackBerry 10 (BB10)," Thomas said. "We wish Sunil well for the future."

Dutt was not quoted in the statement, which did not explain the departure just over a year after he first took up the position.

Thomas previously declined a request for an interview the BlackBerry India chief, explaining the senior executive busy for the next few weeks.

A report in The Hindu yesterday, said Dutt, who previously led Samsung India, had planned to exit after the recent launch of BlackBerry's flagship Z10 device.

In an interview with The Hindu published on March 7, Dutt said the exceptional sales from the recent product launch prompted an increase of internal projections. "Our own internal forecast has been beefed up for BB10 devices by about 40 percent after seeing the response in other markets. By putting a sales target number, I would be limiting my team in India," he was quoted by the paper. "This is a gamechanger for BlackBerry and also for the industry. We are already running out of stock."

BlackBerry also went all-in on the launch, he said, employing its first brand ambassador and a go-to-market strategy designed specifically for BB10.

Thomas noted the interview with Dutt took place three weeks ago.

His departure comes at a tense time for the struggling mobile device manufacturer, which was recently reported to have handed over PIN codes for handsets shipped to India. For the past years, the Canadian phonemaker had been pressured by the Indian government to enable the monitoring of communication between BlackBerry devices as its encryption was deemed "too secure". The company finally relented and built BlackBerry servers in Mumbai in 2011 .

Last November, the Indian government ordered local operators to enable the monitoring of BlackBerry services before December 31 or face having their services shut.

Topics: Mobile OS, BlackBerry, India

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Mahesh Sharma earned his pen licence in his homeland, where he covered the technology industry for ZDNet, SMH, Sky Business News, and The Australian--first as an FTE, and later as a freelancer. The latter fueled his passion for startups and empowered a unique perspective on entrepreneurs' passion to solve problems using technology. Armed... Full Bio

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