BlackBerry Interim CEO promises turnaround for firm

By Marc Castro

Nov 04, 2013 11:15 PM EST

in light of the pull out of Fairfax Financial Holdings and the removal of their CEO, BlackBerry did damage control in appointing John Chen as its interim CEO and executive chairman. Chen was credited with the turn around of Sybase Inc back in the 1990s. Eventually, Sybase was acquired by SAP AG in 2010.

The appointment of Chen comes as a surprise to many investors in the same vein as many were caught off guard when Thorsten Heins quit. Heins effectivity date would be two weeks after the debt offer has been completed.

In an interview with Reuters, Chen reiterated his experience as a turnaround manager and said he had no interest in shutting down the handset unit of the beleaguered technology company based out of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. 

Chen said, "I'm doing this for the long term. I'm going to rebuild this company. I know we have enough ingredients to build a long term sustainable business. I've done ths before and seen the movie before."

For his part, Heins was BlackBerry's CEO for almost two years. The new awaited debt deal would involve seven year subordinated debentures that are convertible to common shares prices at USD10 per share. A private placement of these debts could increase the shares of the firm by almost 20%.

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