John Chen to remain as BlackBerry CEO until November 2023

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John Chen will remain as BlackBerry CEO until November 2023 after agreeing a new contract that will extend his tenure to a decade.

Chen joined the Canadian manufacturer in November 2013 during a period of turmoil. It was once the market leader in smartphones, shipping a peak of 52.3 million devices during its fiscal 2011 and its technology was the de facto standard for the enterprise.

However, it failed to keep up with changes in demand, while Apple and Android manufacturers caught up in security and administration features. Its continually delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system was critically acclaimed when it was finally released in 2013, it failed to make an impact.

Turnaround

Chen immediately made security, services, such as the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), and embedded software powered by QNX the pillars of the company’s strategy.

Painful downsizing and the eventual withdrawal from direct hardware manufacture followed, but the BlackBerry board is clearly pleased with the past five years and optimistic about the company’s future.

“The BlackBerry Board of Directors has tremendous confidence in John Chen.  John engineered a successful turnaround and has the company repositioned to apply its strengths and assets to the Enterprise of Things, an emerging category with massive potential,” said Prem Watsa, lead director and chair of the compensation, nomination and governance committee of the BlackBerry board. 

“John’s leadership is critical and the Board has determined that it is in the best of interests of BlackBerry and its shareholders to continue his service through November 2023.”