New BlackBerry boss John Chen knew from the start that getting the company back on its feet was always going to be more a walk on hot coals than a walk in the park. Indeed, he’s now dealing with the loss of yet another senior executive, and this one from a winning division. Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), has decided to go.
Anyone who’s been following the BlackBerry story will be well aware that BBM – the company’s instant messaging tool – is one of its few success stories, as well as being one of the four key areas in which Chen said he plans to focus efforts as he seeks to strengthen the business following years of decline.
News of Bocking’s departure was broken by BGR and later confirmed by BlackBerry to various media outlets. The Waterloo, Ontario company said the executive had “made the decision to leave BlackBerry” and thanked him for “his years of leadership and contribution,” though declined to offer any details on why he had chosen to leave.
Bocking oversaw the launch of BBM for Android and iOS last October, with 10 million downloads of the messaging app reported in its first 24 hours of availability. However, the original roll out in September didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned, with BlackBerry forced to postpone it when an “unreleased version” of the software appeared on various file-sharing sites, causing a number of problems for the BBM team.
According to Reuters, John Sims, leader of BlackBerry’s enterprise segment, will incorporate the BBM unit into his own, with plans to further strengthen the instant messaging app and “expand it into new areas, including mobile marketing, community building and enterprise messaging.”
CEO John Chen, who replaced Thorsten Heins in November, has said on several occasion he intends to focus more on BlackBerry’s traditional strengths, concentrating more on the enterprise market with sales and services while at the same time cutting costs.
In a piece written for CNBC in December, he described BBM as being “renowned in regulated industries for being the most secure mobile-messaging service” and promised the company will “continue to invest in this popular service and build out its features and channels, with plans to turn it into a revenue stream in the coming years.”