Outgoing BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins Sends Letter To Employees

Thorsten Heins
Thorsten Heins, the outgoing CEO of BlackBerry, announced that they were unable to find a buyer for the company earlier this week.  However, BlackBerry will be receiving a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial.  After the news of Heins’ departure, he sent out an e-mail to employees where he wrote that he was leaving with the confidence of knowing that BlackBerry is in capable hands.

Thorsten Heins took the CEO position from BlackBerry in January 2012 after the departure of co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.  Heins is believed to be walking away with about $16 million in severance and shares and will be stepping down later this month once the investment deal from Fairfax Financial is signed.

Below is the text from Heins’ letter to BlackBerry:

Dear BlackBerry Team Members,

I am writing to share some important news with you today regarding BlackBerry.

This morning, we announced that we have entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment of U.S. $1 billion from Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and other institutional investors, which is a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.

Today’s announcement also marks the conclusion of the review of strategic alternatives process being conducted by the Special Committee. After conducting a thorough review of strategic alternatives, we are pleased to announce this agreement that supports a strong future for BlackBerry. As you will see in the press release we issued this morning, this agreement also comes with some changes to BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and management team, effective upon the closing of the transaction, which is expected to be completed in mid-November.

Today I bid farewell to this great company, but leave with the confidence of knowing that BlackBerry’s future is in your capable hands. Together, we have accomplished a great deal over the past six years, and I thank you for your loyalty and dedication along the way.

John Chen, a renowned expert in technology and global markets, will be appointed to the position of Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and Interim CEO pending completion of a search for a new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Chen’s experience transforming Sybase from a mature technology company into a high-growth enterprise data management, data warehousing, mobility management and analytics innovator, as well as his deep roots in the technology industry will be invaluable to BlackBerry’s future. Additionally, Prem Watsa, a long time BlackBerry supporter and one of Canada’s preeminent investors will rejoin the Board as Lead Director.

I’m sure you all have lots of questions about what this means – and that’s why we are hosting a town hall meeting later this week where you will have the opportunity to hear directly from the new leadership.

As always, it is important for BlackBerry to speak with one voice. Should you receive any calls from investors please forward them to Paul Carpino. Media and other outside inquiries should be forwarded to Heidi Davidson.

In terms of next steps, your day-to-day responsibilities will remain the same through this transition. As a team, each and every one of you plays an important role in BlackBerry’s success, so I thank you for staying focused on delivering the high quality products and services that our customers have come to expect from BlackBerry throughout this transition.

You can continue to count me as BlackBerry’s biggest fan. Please know that I will be cheering from the sidelines.

Sincerely,

Thorsten

[Source: WSJ]

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