John Chen: BlackBerry Ltd Has 50% Survival Chance

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Is the end near for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)? The Canadian tech giant’s new chief executive officer John Chen recently admitted to The Financial Times the obvious: there is a 50% chance for a comeback. This also means there is a 50% chance of failure.

BlackBerry CEO talks about company goals

Chen took over as CEO for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) 90 days ago. He was initially the interim chief executive after Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH)’s failed buyout bid.  One of his goals was to achieve financial stability for the company. His goals included becoming cash flow positive by the end of this year and for overall business to be profitable by March 2016. He added that reaching financial stability will be easier than taking the business to a new level.

When asked if he thought whether BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) would ever be more than just a niche player in the market again, Chen said it was possible, but it would take time. He also said he hoped BlackBerry would become a dominant player in the market again.

Chen’s vision take shape

Now that Chen has appointed a new senior management team, he can focus on the execution. His new team includes a few executives with vast experience in the tech industry. He also set up a turnaround strategy to help him get the company back to it’s roots. His plans to turn the company around include marketing lower-end smartphones, monetizing the popular BlackBerry messenger platform, leveraging a partnership with Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354), and becoming a more significant presence in mobile device management market.

John Chen led the turnaround for database software business Sybase prior to selling it to SAP. However, Chen acknowledges that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is a whole different ballgame than Sybase. He noted the phone maker’s corporate culture is a struggle and is generally more challenging to incorporate change.


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