BBM chief leaves BlackBerry, making for another high-level departure at the company

BlackBerry is losing the chief of BBM, at a time when BlackBerry hopes the product will keep it relevant in the smartphone realm and soon bring in revenue. 

Andrew Bocking, executive vice-president of BlackBerry and head of the messenger service, has left as the BBM product is being rolled into the enterprise unit at BlackBerry. BGR first reported the news, and it was subsequently confirmed by BlackBerry to CNET.

"I can confirm that Andrew Bocking, EVP, BBM has made the decision to leave BlackBerry," a BlackBerry spokesman told Pocket-lint. "We thank him for his years of leadership and contribution."

Among bad press aimed at BlackBerry over the past year, its BBM product has been seen as a success. It launched to much fanfare on Android and iOS, gaining 10 million downloads in its first 24 hours during October 2013

Bocking was the public figure of BBM, often writing official BlackBerry blog posts touting its success. 

John Sims, head of global enterprise solutions, will now oversee the BBM group. The change comes at a time when BlackBerry's new CEO John Chen has taken over to revamp the company and bring it to profitability, after his predecessor Thorsten Heins got the boot. 

BlackBerry's COO Kristian Tear, CMO Frank Boulben, and CFO Brian Bidulka left the company in November, marking a slew of significant changes at the corporate level of BlackBerry. 

BlackBerry said in December it would target four areas as it works to regain relevance: handsets, cross-platform messaging, EMM solutions and embedded systems. Chen said for the first time that "BlackBerry is not for everyone", and he added that the company was "very much alive, thank you" with cross-platform messaging in its focus.

"The BBM organisation remains as a group within BlackBerry and will continue to focus on BlackBerry’s and BBM’s strength in messaging and new areas of focus such as mobile marketing, community-building and enterprise messaging," BlackBerry confirmed to Pocket-lint. "John Sims, president, Global Enterprise Solutions, who has extensive experience in mobile messaging, will add the BBM team to his organisation."