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BlackBerry CEO John Chen will depart the company after 10 years

john chen

John Chen, the CEO of Blackberry, has announced he will officially leave the tech company on November 4. Ironically, he will leave 10 years to the day that he came on board the company to try to turn around the fortunes of the makers of the BlackBerry smartphone.

In a letter to the company's employees that was posted on BlackBerry's site, Chen stated:

I feel proud to have kept this great company alive and to have defined a strategy that has kept us true to our founding mission and values. The Company now has a unique opportunity to build a world we can all be proud of – a trusted, software-defined world.

Chen was asked to join Blackberry on November 4, 2013 as its executive chairman, but quickly became its CEO. At that time the once high-flying company has seen sales of its BlackBerry smartphones come crashing down due to the popularity of Apple's iPhone and Android phones.

Chen tried to keep the company in the smartphone business for a while by launching devices that ran on the Android OS. Some had BlackBerry's trademark QWERTY physical keyboard, like the Priv, while others were pure touchscreen phones.

Unfortunately, the new BlackBerry phones were not a sales success, and in 2016, it was announced that the company would no longer design and make its own smartphones. It did allow TCL to license the BlackBerry name to make its own phones with that label later that year, but that license agreement ran out in 2020. A company called OnwardMobility got those same rights, but it failed to release its own BlackBerry phone before it shut down its doors,

In the middle of all this, Chen led the company away from smartphones and into enterprise software development, concentrating on cybersecurity and Internet of Things services. Earlier this month, BlackBerry announced plans to separate its IoT and cybersecurity divisions into two separate businesses, which could happen in the first half of its next fiscal year, meaning it's targeting a March-August 2024 timeframe.

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