Two managers out in ongoing BlackBerry shakeup


By Rob Gillies, AP

TORONTO — BlackBerry’s interim chief executive has shaken up BlackBerry’s management team in a move seen as a prelude to him taking the top job himself.

Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear and Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben, both hired by recently ousted CEO Thorsten Heins, will leave the struggling smartphone maker.

And the company said Monday that Brian Bidulka is being replaced by James Yersh as chief financial officer. Yersh previously served as senior vice president and controller.

Former Sybase CEO John Chen was brought in as the interim chief executive after negotiations to sell the Waterloo, Ontario, company collapsed this month. Chen also serves as executive chair of the board.

Blackberry quickly lost dominance as the leading smartphone maker as the popularity of the iPhone surged. The much-hyped BlackBerry 10 system, its latest phones, were a flop. The company disclosed in September that it would book nearly a billion dollars in losses related to unsold phones.

The company recently announced 4,500 layoffs, or 40 percent of its global workforce, and reported a quarterly loss of nearly US$1 billion.

Chen said he’ll continue to align the management team with his priorities. “I look forward to working more directly with the talented teams of engineers, and the sales and marketing teams around the world to facilitate the BlackBerry turn-around,” Chen said in a statement.