BlackBerry shuffles management deck: Out with the dead wood

BlackBerry shuffles management deck: Out with the dead wood

Summary: The smartphone maker is throwing out most of its management dead wood in efforts to gain much-needed corporate focus. Because for the past three years, they've been just as much of the company's problem as its falling market share.

TOPICS: Smartphones
Inside BlackBerry headquarters (Image: ZDNet)

Out with the old, in with the new.

BlackBerry's executive team has been all but entirely replaced in efforts to get the company strategically back on track, after almost two years of stagnant growth and a dwindling cash position.

In a statement on Monday, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced the old corporate dead wood is being thrown on the fire and the executive team will be rebuilt almost entirely from scratch.

Chief operating officer Kristian Tear and chief marketing officer Frank Boulben will as a result both leave the company. 

Meanwhile, chief financial officer Brian Bidulka is out, and will be replaced by James Yersh, who previously served as the company's head of compliance. Yersh has spent more than five years at the company. Bidulka will remain on as a special advisor to assist new interim chief executive John Chen in efforts to stabilize the company's financial situation.

The executive shuffle isn't much of a surprise, but it is long overdue. 

Chen warned in an interview with Reuters earlier this month to expect a further shuffle of the company's executive team by bringing in "new faces" in order to help change the expected fate of the Canadian giant.

He said he expects the company to see a turnaround in about one-and-a-half years, pegging in around mid-2015. 

Chen, who replaces former chief executive Thorsten Heins, said just days after Heins was ousted from the company following a failed bid to find a buyer, called for the need for "significant change" at the Canadian phone maker. 

While BlackBerry is still looking for a permanent chief executive, if Chen's history in turning around enterprise firm Sybase is anything to go by, the chances are he will be sticking around for some time. 

Topic: Smartphones

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  • I wouldn't be surprised if

    they (wallstreet) pull a nokia on blackberry- plant a m$ stoolie, run it in ground and sell it to m$ with the patents for pennies on the dollar so that the always bottom feeding m$ can mint more ca$h.
    • Great idea

      Bottom line of what your trying to say: buy Microsoft stock
      Sean Foley
    • dead wood

      thrown in the fire...I think I heard a similar song a few years ago about a burning ship...was that Nokia?
      LlNUX Geek
  • BB has the capabilities

    but has been held back by idiotic management for years.

    BB10 has always been 100% capable of running Android apps, but until a recent leaked patch came out you had to go through a number of steps to port an Android app to it. The new patch enables you to simply download a .apk file (Android app file) and install it as if it were a native app.

    BB10 gets you better battery life than Android.

    BB10 phones are more secure than Androids or iPhones.

    Blackberry phones have superior RF hardware, getting you better signal in low-signal areas.

    BB10 is the only mobile OS that I know allows for true multi-tasking, as it won't shut down apps when you switch between them.

    Their marketing department has totally sucked at getting these points across.
    Jacob VanWagoner
    • Not quite correct on android

      BB OS 10 was only capable of running older gingerbread android apps and even then they ran slowly. I've had a few on mine. With 10.2 they improved quite a bit (Ice Cream Sandwich) but still no hardware acceleration for graphics. Now with 10.2.1 they now really have full support all the way up to Jelly Bean 4.2.2. Hardware acceleration and low power bluetooth.

      I cannot confirm the battery life claim at least in comparison to Z10 (Q10 might be a different story) I think my wife's S4 does better than my Z10 and my son's HTC One also does better. Perhaps with 10.2.1 this will change. My Z10 killed the Samsung S2 though. So some android phones really do eat battery.

      Don't get me wrong I am a big fan of BB and I love my Z10 but I think you might be over-selling it a bit.

      Android can multi-task just fine. And it has had limited support in IOS back to version 4. It has much more support in later versions.
    • Don't buy in to the BB10 hype

      Let the product stand on it's own without spreading fud.
      BB10 gets better battery life. Not what I saw. It was very average which isn't a bad thing.
      BB10 Phones are more secure. - Nope.. So far already patched for two vulnerabilities - There was a flash one, and also a exploit of blackberry protect. Again not a bad thing as it's still pretty good, its just when we open the door for a phone to do more, there are more areas of exploit.
      Blackberry Phones have superior RF Hardware. Ok, I've never seen anything about this. We had 6 BB10's here at work(all turned back in by the way). There was nothing exceptional about the coverage.
      Multi-tasking. All of the big 4 phones do Multi-tasking. Some venders just choose to limit some to help save batter power. Heck even the hyper sensitive apple has allowed apps to run in the background now.

      One point I totally agree though is that they should push about all of the html5 pages and android apps that can run.

      My one knock on the phone that people complained about was the not very smooth interface, and we also we were having some lock ups. Granted they were newly released phones and we didn't give them a chance to be fixed. Oh also, the way they handled the phone and BES was a pain.
  • Good.

    The marketing team sucked. It's about time they get some good pr.
  • Brian Bidulka! Financial officer! LOL

    Maybe someone has told them that "Bidulka" means something like "a poor baby" in Polish :D
  • Wishful Thinking

    I wish I were in that group of outgoing executives as they most certainly have a golden parachute to help break their falls. It must be great to be rewarded for screwing up a company so badly that they have to can your a$$.