BlackBerry parts ways with singer Alicia Keys, abruptly ends her global creative director role
Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is no longer BlackBerry's global creative director.
Keys accepted the gig last January and now, almost a year later, BlackBerry has abruptly announced that Keys will leave her role officially on 30 January. BlackBerry didn't give a reason, but said she had completed a "year-long collaboration".
Many reports, including that in The New York Times, have indicated Keys was fired or let go from her role, especially because it coincides with BlackBerry's $4.4 billion loss in the last quarter. The company subsequently fired its CEO, several senior executives, and is laying off roughly 40 per cent of its employees.
So it appears Keys was next on the chopping block. That said, her firing would be a smart financial move. Keys hasn't even appeared for the company in a long while. She showed up for a January 2013 launch event, then seemed to slow all promotions as BlackBerry's new smartphones failed to catch on.
Despite these criticisms, BlackBerry has previously claimed that Keys had a hands-on approach when it came to operations. For instance, she worked on a four-year scholarship program that encouraged young women to pursue science and technology careers, according to CTV.
BlackBerry isn't the only tech company in history to seek out celebrities as global creative directors. HTC hired actor Robert Downey Jr for a similar position in 2013. However, because of BlackBerry's new focus on enterprise, it's probably safe to say that Keys won't be replaced anytime soon.