BlackBerry announces exec shuffle, removes CMO and COO while replacing CFO

BlackBerry z30 hands on

BlackBerry is starting off the week with a slew of executive announcement changes. The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Kristian Tear, and its Chief Marketing Officer, Frank Boulben, are leaving the company, and current Chief Financial Officer, Brian Bidulka, will be replaced by James Yersh. The former will remain as a special advisor to new CEO, John Chen; the latter has been working at BlackBerry for five years in roles ranging from Senior Vice President to Head of Compliance.

Boulben has been BlackBerry’s CMO since mid-2012, and previously served the same role at LightSquared, after coming over from European carriers, Orange and Vodafone. Tear arrived at the same time as Boulben, coming over from Sony Mobile where he was EVP of Sales & Marketing.

BlackBerry is not currently announcing replacements for the two roles, and will likely do so during its fiscal Q3 2014 financials next month. CEO John Chen took the announcement as an opportunity to reiterate BlackBerry’s strong cash position, and that this move will “facilitate the BlackBerry turn-around and to drive innovation.”

Though BlackBerry has been navigating a difficult road of late, unable to maneuver a deal with Fairfax that would take the company private, the company does seem to be on better footing than earlier this year. With the replacement of Thorsten Heins with “fixer” John Chen, and a slow and steady contraction of the company’s workforce — 4,500 in total will be laid off — BlackBerry will emerge a smaller, more focused enterprise.