BlackBerry Indian Operations Nearing Halt


BlackBerry, which is still making efforts to turn things around, may have to work a little more harder now. In an important market like India, the company’s operations are nearing a standstill as its headcount has been reduced to less than a fourth of what it was a year ago, claims a report from the Economic Times.

Indian operations in danger

In 2014, the firm employed around 70 people in India, but now that number is closer to 15. More importantly, the majority of the senior management have left the firm, says the report, citing sources familiar with the developments. In June, BlackBerry India head Sunil Lalvani quit the firm to head Qualcomm’s India unit. Presently, Matthew Tonkin, vice president of carrier sales and distribution for the APAC region, is heading BlackBerry’s Indian operations.

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Another senior executive, Sameer Bhatia, who headed sales and distribution in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, left BlackBerry in June to lead brand retail at Seagate Technology. There are reports that the head of product management, Advait Vaidya, has also quit. Earlier this year, Manoj Khilani, head of enterprise marketing, also left the firm to lead marketing and communications for Kronos, the report says.

“It’s been a tough ride for all those in the company. People are moving on for better career options,” one of the sources told the ET.

Another report from Firstpost claims yet another key executive has departed. Citing industry sources, the report says Varghese M. Thomas, head of Corporate Communications SAARC, has also put in his papers.

BlackBerry in consolidation phase

While key executives in India are leaving BlackBerry, the situation is quite the opposite in the rest of the world where the Canadian firm is itself cutting jobs. Last month, BlackBerry announced more job cuts as it consolidates its software, hardware and applications business. The company did not detail the number of jobs that will be impacted, but many expect it to be significant. For the March quarter, the company posted a drop of 16.8% in quarterly revenue. As of February 2015, it had 6,225 full-time employees.

Since it started restructuring under CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has slashed thousands of jobs. Earlier this year, the Canadian firm laid off an unspecified number of employees from its apps business, hardware and software.