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article imageBlackberry CEO John Chen to stay on after company turnaround

By Ken Hanly     Mar 18, 2018 in Technology
Waterloo - John Chen can keep his job of chief executive officer(CEO) of Blackberry until at least November 2023. Chen is given the credit for rescuing the company when Blackberry appeared to be doomed when he came on as CEO in 2013.
Chen changed focus of Blackberry
Blackberry was once famous for the quality and security of its mobile phones but was unable to keep up with the competition and lagged behind as companies such as Apple and others were thriving in the mobile market. Chen decided simply to ditch the mobile phone business and licensed Telephone Communications Ltd. (TCL) to use the Blackberry name on mobile devices. He shifted the company's focus to "investments in cybersecurity and embedded software that today are delivering the vast majority of the company's revenue and growth".
Blackberry board praises Chen for company turnaround
In its press release, the Blackberry board of directors expressed tremendous confidence in Chen saying: “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.”
Chen himself it would seem also believes the company has completed its turnaround phase. Recently the company has exceeded expectations and it shares have risen as reported in a Digital Journal article in December.
Chen said: “I would not call us in a turnaround mode anymore. We make money, we generate growth in the right areas. Those areas are primarily cybersecurity and enterprise. We’re very good in the cybersecurity, enterprise for regulated industries in particular like the banks and the governments and the healthcare.”
Blackberry's deal with Baidu
In January the company announced a deal with the Chinese company Baidu. The two companies will collaborate to hasten the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technology. Blackberry's QNX platform will serve as the foundation for Baidu's Apollo autonomous driving platform.
Baidu is a huge multinational Chinese company headquartered in Beijing.
It specializes in internet-related services and projects but also in artificial intelligence (AI).
Baidu has its own autonomous driving platform called Apollo. Some of its features are described in a techcrunch article. Blackberry will provide QNX an operating system for the Apollo. QNX is described in a Wikipedia article.
Chen wants to go beyond auto applications
Chen claims: “We’re going to go beyond auto and go into the embedded world — what I call the EoT or IoT world. It’s a huge market, and it’s growing, and we’re very fortunate that we can play well in it.” Given Chen's success so far in completely turning around the fortunes of the company and changing its focus entirely the company could do well in the future as it enters new emerging technology markets.
The new Blackberry KeyOne
The Blackberry name is now used by Telephone Communications Limited (TCL). It recently launched the KeyOne shown in the appended photo and was reported on in a recent Digital Journal article.
More about John S Chen, Blackberry, Mobile phones