BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins fired as company decides against buyout
BlackBerry has decided to axe its current CEO Thorsten Heins and has given up on finding an outright buyer for the company. It will instead receive $1 billion in investment from a group of companies led by Fairfax Financial, the organisation long thought to be in the running to take over completely.
Heins will be replaced by John S Chen as interim chief executive officer until a full replacement can be found. Chen will also serve as executive chair of BlackBerry's board of directors.
"Today's announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of pre-eminent, long-term investors," said Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry's board, while Chen could only really muster: "I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry."
Ever since the original Fairfax Financial deal was announced, a number of other companies have been rumoured to be looking at a BlackBerry buyout, including Lenovo, Facebook and Qualcomm.
They were all turned down, it seems. According to a company statement, the board "conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders".
It continued: "This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favourable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs."
BlackBerry is yet to reveal why it took the decision to replace Heins, who has been the figurehead of BlackBerry launches for a while, most notably BlackBerry 10 and the supporting handsets. Rumour has it that he will be getting a $22 million payout for his efforts, whatever they were.