BlackBerry names former SAP exec to lead its enterprise biz

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) said former SAP executive John Sims will join the company in January as the president of its Global Enterprise Services business, at a time when Blackberry is shifting away from the consumer smartphone market to focus more squarely on the enterprise. 

john sims blackberry sap


Sims previously served as president of SAP's mobile services business, and BlackBerry said he has more than 20 years of experience with companies that supply mobile products and services to wireless carriers. Before joining SAP, Sims held leadership positions at 724 Solutions, Tantau Software, Intrado and Tandem Computers. He also serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the CTIA.

Sims appointment appears to represent part of interim BlackBerry CEO John Chen's plan to tap the talent pool at his former employer. Chen used to be CEO of Sybase, which SAP acquired in 2010 after he turned around the company.

Chen has said little so far about his plans to turn around BlackBerry's business. He is expected to divulge more details when Blackberry reports quarterly earnings on Friday. However, Chen has made it clear that the enterprise will be a key focus for the company.

In an open letter earlier this month, Chen wrote that the investments enterprise customers have made in BlackBerry infrastructure and solutions are "secure," and that he will keep the lines of communication open as BlackBerry navigates its current transition.

"We're going back to our heritage and roots--delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions," Chen wrote. "As we refocus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, EMM solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems. And, just as important, we will continue to invest in enterprise and security related R&D during our restructuring period. In short, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated."     

Sims' appointment comes amid a new wave of executive departures at BlackBerry. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rick Costanzo, the executive vice president in charge of global sales, will be leaving the company by early next year, and that Chris Wormald, who was in charge of BlackBerry's mergers and acquisitions strategy, will be gone by the end of this month.

If confirmed, the departures would come just weeks after interim CEO John Chen shook up the management team, with COO Kristian Tear and CMO Frank Boulben leaving the company. Additionally, CFO Brian Bidulka is leaving and will be replaced by James Yersh, the company said. Yersh, who has worked at BlackBerry since 2008, previously served as senior vice president, controller and as the company's head of compliance. Bidulka will stay on as a special advisor to Chen for the remainder of the company's fiscal year to assist with the transition.

For more:
- see this BlackBerry release
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this separate Bloomberg article

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