BlackBerry Ltd Overhauls Management, Survival Still Uncertain

BlackBerry Ltd Overhauls Management, Survival Still Uncertain
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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s new interim CEO John Chen, who is dramatically changing the organization, is “not behaving like an interim CEO,” says a report from Jefferies by analysts Peter Misek, Jason North and Billy Kim. The most noticeable changes, according to the analysts, were the removal of a management layer and transferring the hardware unit to a “much deemphasized enterprise niche.”

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BlackBerry gets a new CFO

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) appointed James Yersh as the new Chief Financial Officer replacing Brian Bidulka. James has been with the Canadian firm since 2008, and most recently was the SVP Controller and Head of Compliance. Brian, who has been with BlackBerry for eight years, has served as the CFO since 2009. Brian will remain with the smartphone maker for the remaining part of the fiscal year, and will help in the transition.

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Owing to the “on-going reorganization” efforts, BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear and Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben will be leaving the company.  Tear joined BlackBerry in May 2012, and earlier was working with Sony Ericsson. Boulbe was also appointed in May 2012 and has previously worked for LightSquared, Vodafone and Orange.

Reinforce focus on high-profit business customers

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) appointed Chen as the interim CEO earlier this month after it abandoned the efforts to sell itself. The Canadian firm instead raised $1 billion in convertible notes offering from Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, which is the largest shareholder in BlackBerry.

In September, BlackBerry revealed a plan that reinforces the focus on high-profit business customers. Chen told at that time that he intends to make the company a big player in mobile devices and device-management tools serving companies and governments.

Need more cost saving

New interim-CEO John Chen is following a six-quarter turnaround strategy with “cash stabilizing in 3-4 quarters.” Analysts believe that the strategic review has halted most of the company’s operations since August. Owing to the persistent uncertainty concerning the “longevity and leadership” at BlackBerry, analysts feel that the “ongoing business will continue to be significantly impaired.”

Analysts believe that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) needed more cost saving measures due to declining legacy services business and rescaling of the hardware business. In all, analysts “see continued uncertainty for the overall business.”

Jefferies has a Hold rating on BlackBerry with a price target of $6.

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Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at
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