BlackBerry this week hired former Sybase CEO John Chen (pictured) as chairman and interim CEO as the struggling smartphone manufacturer's efforts to turn itself around continue. He replaces CEO Thorsten Heins, who stepped down. BlackBerry also abandoned its plans to go private, taking on $1 billion in convertible debt financing instead.
Hiring Chen is a smart move. He became Sybase's CEO in 1998 and turned around the struggling database software company, in part by overseeing the company's expansion into mobile computing and mobile infrastructure systems. The company became a strong financial performer, with 55 consecutive quarters of profitability, before being acquired by SAP for $5.8 billion in 2010.
Chen has expertise in turning around a sinking company. And he understands mobile computing. As BlackBerry tries to get back on track, observers are pointing to such assets as its messenger applications and BlackBerry Enterprise Server software.