BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s ex-CEO has shifted focus and is now heading wireless charging start-up Powermat Technologies Ltd. Heins was named CEO and chairman of the New York-based company on Tuesday, replacing company founder Ran Poliakine.
Heins to face BlackBerry-like challenges at Powermat
Poliakine confirmed the succession plan and agreed to it during a Feb. 4 board meeting, succumbing to pressure from investors such as Goldman Sachs and hedge fund Hudson Clean Energy Partners. Powermat makes technology to allow wireless charging, which is currently deployed at General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX).
Heins was the CEO of Blackberry starting in January 2012 but could not execute a turnaround strategy and was replaced by John Chen in November 2013. The BlackBerry ex-CEO previously worked with Siemens, and now at Powermat, he has challenges that are very similar to those he faced at BlackBerry.
On being named as the CEO, Heins said, “I am honored to lead Powermat into its next exciting phase,” and added, “Powermat’s technology is on the cusp of mainstream adoption.”
Tasks already laid for Heins
Heins was dropped from BlackBerry after the Canadian smartphone maker could not close a deal to go private. Heins’ tenure was very short at BlackBerry at just under two years, and now he will make strategies and efforts to turn around Powermat. BlackBerry Ltd’s former CEO will be responsible for devising strategies to earn revenue from the company’s technology, which for now is given for free. Also Heins is expected to enter into new partnerships with consumer companies, airports and others to make the technology as desirable as Wi-Fi.
Heins stated that Powermat’s wireless technology is in its initial phase, and it needs a lot of work to make consumers aware of the productivity of the feature. Powermat has been on good terms with companies such as Starbucks, but the technology still needs to be induced into devices for bringing the company into the mainstream business. Heins acknowledged the hard work put by the group to create more hardware partners.
On Tuesday, BlackBerry shares were down 1.65% at $10.76, and year to date, shares are up almost 45%.