BlackBerry CEO John Chen retires

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After a decade of leading BlackBerry Ltd. through a dramatic transformation, CEO John Chen is retiring. Chen’s departure, effective November 4, 2023, comes as the company prepares to spin off its Internet of Things (IoT) division from its cybersecurity unit.

Richard (Dick) Lynch, a member of BlackBerry’s board since 2013, will succeed Chen as interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement. Lynch has a long track record in the tech industry, having served as executive vice-president and chief technology officer of Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless.

Chen’s tenure at BlackBerry was marked by significant challenges and changes. When he arrived in 2013, the company was reeling from the decline of its once-dominant smartphone business. Chen quickly shifted BlackBerry’s focus to enterprise software and security, and the company has since made significant progress in these areas.

BlackBerry’s cybersecurity business is now one of the fastest-growing segments of the company, and its QNX operating system is used in a wide range of IoT devices, including vehicles. However, BlackBerry’s share price and revenue have never fully recovered from the company’s pre-iPhone heyday.

In a statement, BlackBerry’s board of directors expressed its gratitude to Chen for his leadership. “His achievement of saving BlackBerry and repositioning it as a software company with leading cybersecurity and IoT technologies has been remarkable,” said Prem Watsa, lead director of the BlackBerry board.

Chen also thanked the BlackBerry community for its support during his tenure. 

The sources for this piece include an article in ITWorldCanada.

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