BlackBerry shakeup claims operating, marketing and financial chiefs

The company's COO and CMO have left, with no replacements named

BlackBerry's chief operating, marketing and financial officers are leaving as recently appointed CEO John Chen makes his mark on the struggling mobile vendor.

Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear, Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben and Chief Financial Officer Brian Bidulka all are leaving BlackBerry, the company announced on Monday. James Yersh, the former controller and head of compliance, will take over the top financial spot.

No replacements were named for Tear or Boulben, who both were hired by ousted CEO Thorsten Heins in May 2012 as BlackBerry geared up for the launch of BlackBerry 10 smartphones and a renewed consumer marketing effort. BlackBerry 10 didn't launch until the following January, and the company has since moved away from the consumer business.

"I look forward to working more directly with the talented teams of engineers, and the sales and marketing teams around the world to facilitate the BlackBerry turn-around and to drive innovation," Chen said in a press release. Departing CFO Bidulka, who worked at BlackBerry for eight years, will remain as a special adviser to assist with the transition for the rest of the company's fiscal year.

BlackBerry named Chen as CEO on Nov. 4, the same day the company said it would accept a US$1 billion loan from a consortium of investors but drop plans to sell itself. Under Heins, BlackBerry had pinned its hopes on the BlackBerry 10 platform but ended up taking an inventory charge of nearly $1 billion that was mostly associated with the recently introduced Z10 handset.

"I will continue to align my senior management team and organizational structure, and refine the company's strategy," Chen said in the press release.

He is the former CEO of Sybase, which entered the mobile market under Chen and was later sold to SAP.

Also on Monday, BlackBerry announced the resignation of board member Roger Martin, who had served since 2007.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
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