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BlackBerry interim CEO Chen: company will still make smartphones

updated 03:50 pm EST, Mon November 4, 2013

Heins' replacement promises to rebuild

BlackBerry's new interim CEO John Chen said on Monday that the company will not be shutting down its handset production unit. This after the company let go of Thorsten Heins as CEO earlier today. Chen's comments came in the midst of an interview with Reuters, and the incoming CEO says that he believes both that BlackBerry can be rescued and that he has the skill set for it.

"I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business," Chen said. "I have done this before and seen the same movie before."

Chen was referring in the latter statement to his time at Sybase. As head of that company, Chen piloted the firm toward enterprise software and services. Eventually, SAP acquired Sybase.

While Chen's work at Sybase led to that company changing its focus and eventually being acquired, he says such will not be the case with BlackBerry. The company, he says, will continue to make smartphones, even though consumer interest in its most recent devices has been negligible.

Chen also said the company is unlikely to offer itself for sale in the near future either. Instead, BlackBerry will essentially borrow funds from investors through a convertible debenture deal. That deal would give BlackBerry an additional $1 billion in funding, and possibly up to $1.25 billion to add to its $2.5 billion in current cash holdings.

Chen says BlackBerry's turnaround will take at least six quarters. He hinted at cleaning house within the company's executive ranks, bringing in some new people and promoting others from within the company.

"I'm doing this for the long term," Chen said. "I am going to rebuild this company."

by MacNN Staff



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