Technology

BlackBerry Ltd’s M&A Chief Quit Last Month For Unknown Reasons

BlackBerry might be close to concluding its transition phase, but its leadership woes are just not ending. BlackBerry’s head of corporate development and strategy, Jim Mackey, left in mid-February.

BlackBerry
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Reason for departure remains a secret

When Reuters inquired about the departure, Mackey responded through a LinkedIn message saying, “It is true I left BlackBerry as of Feb. 13.”

Mackey, who has held the positions of executive vice president and executive of operations at BlackBerry, gave no reason for quitting.

In late 2013, the Canadian firm issued a press release regarding Mackey’s hiring, but it did not announce his departure, notes Reuters. When asked about this, BlackBerry’s Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard chose not to respond.

Struggling with branding

Mackey’s experience would have been extremely helpful in changing the brand image of the Canadian firm, which is still largely perceived as a smartphone maker.

“You’ve got decades, literally, of a brand associated primarily with smartphones – we created that space,” Beard said in an interview on Thursday.

Mackey assisted CEO John Chen in his acquisition initiatives and major partnership agreements to help steer the company through troubling times. In 2015, the company made two important acquisitions to transition from being a smartphone maker to a software player.

The first purchase was data synchronization company WatchDox, while the other was that of emergency communications company AtHoc. The amount spent wasn’t disclosed. To move further away from the hardware tag, the Canadian firm acquired former rival Good Technology for $425 million.

What’s BlackBerry focusing on now?

According to Beard, BlackBerry’s focus is now on connectivity and securing all devices, whether for consumers or businesses. The company is also working hard and is well-poised to dominate the growing market of self-driving vehicles. Currently, its QNX software is present in more than 60 million vehicles.

BlackBerry ditched its own operating system and started making devices that run on the Android OS in 2015. The company has released several Android devices, but unfortunately, none of them were successful enough to help the company in its turnaround efforts. Late last year, the company entered into deals with three manufacturers, entrusting them with the responsibility of building devices under the BlackBerry brand.

BlackBerry shares are currently worth $6.89. In the last month, the stock is down almost 2%, while in the last year, it is down almost 8%. The stock has a 52-week high of $8.46 and a 52-week low of $6.23.