BlackBerry shuffles management deck: Out with the dead wood

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.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
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. 

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