BlackBerry CEO John Chen receives a contract extension to 2023

BlackBerry CEO John Chen receives a contract extension to 2023
Has 1,592 days really gone by since John Chen took over as CEO of BlackBerry from Thorsten Heins? Chen, as he promised, continued to push out new handsets until it was obvious that this was not a financially viable survival plan. So the executive made a brilliant move and licensed the BlackBerry name and its version of Android to other companies including TCL. This allowed the company to eliminate its hardware manufacturing business in order to focus on "cybersecurity and embedded software."

To reward Chen's turnaround of the company, BlackBerry today extended Chen's contract by another five years. The CEO will continue to lead the company through November 2023. Chen's base salary will remain the same as will his short-term cash incentive. The latter consists of 5 million restricted share units (RSUs) that vest in equal tranches annually once BlackBerry's shares trade in the $16 to $20 range (using a 10-day moving average). Today, BlackBerry (BB-NYSE) closed at $13.25. Should the shares reach $30 (again, based on a 10-day moving average), all of Chen's performance based cash awards will vest immediately.


BlackBerry is expected to release its earnings report for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2018 on March 28th. For the third quarter, BlackBerry topped Wall Street estimates by reporting earnings of 3 cents a share. Analysts were expecting the company to breakeven for the three month period. Though revenue at $226 million was down 25% year-over-year, it surpassed estimates calling for the firm to report gross of $215.4 million.

source: BlackBerry

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49 Comments

2. antroid

Posts: 392; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

John Chen did a remarkable job hands down.

9. domfonusr

Posts: 1087; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

It takes a truly unique level of talent to properly manage the leveling out of a company in serious decline, and that is what Chen managed to do. Contrast this with the Nokia train-wreck presided over by Elop... which ended with the Nokia brand selling out to Microsoft, and then disappearing, only to reappear a few years later under new management (HMD Global) because there was still popularity left in the brand name that had gone unharnessed. Where Elop decided to cut bait and sell out his new employer to his former employer for personal gain, Chen took the risk of holding on to whatever he could save of his new employer, and managed the transition from being a hardware manufacturer to being a software and services provider instead... and they saw the decline level out. Chen may yet bring in the 'fish', whereas Elop folded early, and did what benefitted him, and not Nokia, when the 'catch' was proving to be tough.

29. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Elop may have made the right decision to sell Nokia at the time. Blackberry had two things going for it. It was a hardware and software company. Chen invested in the software division and thus reinvented the company as a software company. He also capitalized on its ability to be secure. Now lets move to Nokia. While yes they did have symbian; my personal opinion is that the OS was in a dieing state long before Elop took the helm. Thus Nokia was a hardware buisness and that buisness was already saturated. Take a look at HTC for example. They make great android devices but are nearly bankrupt. Not sure going Android would have saved Nokia at that time. Android was not as sophisticated 5 years ago as it was today. Never the less its my opinion and I could be wrong

30. domfonusr

Posts: 1087; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I just miss the days when Nokia phones were made in Finland by a company called Nokia, that had its own unique OS's in the Series 60 and Series 80 Symbian UI's... and I would have eventually tried Symbian^3 if it had survived long enough, as I was hoping to eventually try the N8 and/or E7 and/or X7, among others. Nokia owned a huge percentage of the marketshare of smartphone sales worldwide even until the "burning platform" comments by Elop, and the subsequent dismissal of Symbian. Symbian had more marketshare than the iPhone even until Nokia stopped making Symbian handsets. As I recall, Nokia's Symbian had almost 20% of the smartphone market worldwide, where iOS was still climbing toward 10%, and sits now at 13%. Of course, Apple is the only one who was making much money at that point. I bought a Nokia E75 for just under $270 at a time when Nokia probably spent almost that much to build them, and Apple gathered in $500 to $600 on every iPhone, which cost considerably less to produce than the Nokia E75 at the time. It just seems a real shame that Nokia doesn't even make their own phones anymore. Sorry, but my Nokia-fanboy days have not died easily. In essence, you could say that BlackBerry has done what Nokia ended up doing, but Nokia's change was more extreme when it didn't really need to be so. Both BlackBerry and Nokia brands (hardware) are manufactured by new contract companies (TCL and HMD Global), though I am pleased that BlackBerry, thanks to Chen, was able to hang on to their software side of things. Nokia got booted all the way back to just doing networking equipment. HTC is on the verge of disappearing, though I think that Apple could make a controversial entrance into the Android marketshare by buying up what's left of HTC, and then we would finally see a real comparison of how Apple plays at the Android game against other Android OEM's. I'll bet they would really clean house...

31. Subie

Posts: 2393; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Why would Apple buy HTC to enter the Android Market? 1. Apple is doing quite well as is. 2. Apple already has a good hardware design division. 3. Google would be happy to supply the OS free of charge should they decide to make a handset to run Android. Again I'm asking because I just don't see that acquisition making sense.

32. meanestgenius

Posts: 22282; Member since: May 28, 2014

Gotta agree with everything you just said. I think there’s a zero chance with a smattering “never going to happen” on top concerning Apple ever creating an Android smartphone. Buying HTC is a possibility, but they’d just do it for the patents and possibly some designs, and put the rest on the backburner for good. Apple is doing great with iOS and the other stuff that they have going on. So great, in fact, that I now use an iPhone 8 Plus as my primary smartphone, lol.

42. domfonusr

Posts: 1087; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

It may not make much sense at first, but it really is the "final frontier" for Apple if they want to compete in places like India, China, and the developing world. I imagine they could make a lot of money selling cheap (but streamlined, with premium feel) Android Go devices, and even "mop the floor" with competitors like Sony, LG, TCL, and HMD Global, among others. Only Samsung and Google, and maybe some of the Chinese OEM's, would be relatively safe from them. The HTC patents are certainly valuable on their own, too, but if Apple wants to sell smartphones to the poor masses in the Third World, or maybe even the relatively poor among the Western World populations, and compete in a straight-comparison mode with Google directly, this is how they could do it. If Apple could show that they could do better than Google and Samsung at the Android game, everyone would undeniably have to acknowledge their acumen at pulling off an upset, for sure. It would truly leave no doubt of their supremacy, whatsoever. I'm not the only one who thinks this could be interesting and useful. Even a handful of Apple fans that I've met think its a great idea.

3. Subie

Posts: 2393; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Well deserved Chen!

4. shihte

Posts: 61; Member since: Sep 02, 2013

Chen killed best os ever made bb10 look on copying iphone x etc bb is just small fart not famous company any more

6. antroid

Posts: 392; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

At least the company in better situation than before

11. Venom

Posts: 3732; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Yes, somewhat so. I don't think the KeyONE was a big seller considering they only shipped 850K units. It's the software that is keeping them up.

14. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

BlackBerry do not rely on KEYone sales becaue they do not make smartphone anymore, so KEYone sales are not relevant here, only the software.

17. Subie

Posts: 2393; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Does Blackberry's licensing deal not include royalty payments per unit? I'm asking because I've read rumors that they get $15 per KEYone sold. If it's true then KEYone sales would actually be relevant when talking about BB's bottom line. Again it's just a rumor, but to me it would make sense for BB to have included some sort of royalty agreement in their licensing deals... https://forums.crackberry.com/blackberry-keyone-f445/blackberry-keyone-revenue-contribution-financials-1113324/

18. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

BlackBerry get paid up front sum for software before phone even ship from what I read. I will see if I can find article. Even if what you say is true, it is not relevant enough to affect BlackBerry bottom line in meaningful way.

20. Subie

Posts: 2393; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

You could be right, but 850,000 at $15 each is still 12.75 million dollars. Again - rumor.

21. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

Very true. You could be correct. I will search for article.

35. Venom

Posts: 3732; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

So where's the article?

39. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

I do not care to provide information for you.

34. Venom

Posts: 3732; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Can't find something if it doesn't exist.

38. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

That is what we say when you post your fabrication and pretend it is fact.

24. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2452; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

There is a royalty agreement, but it is at an undisclosed amount. I'm sure some financial genius could deduce the amount of money by looking at the financial records of both companies, but there is no formal statement on what the amount is. However, I should also point out that the Keyone was not really sold at any carriers. Even their exclusive offering at AT&T was for online only. You couldn't find a Blackberry Keyone in any AT&T stores. That's a problem for consumers that may want to actually see a product before they buy it. Add to that the fact that they later released the Black Edition which should've been offered from the start with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. I feel if the next iteration of the Keyone were to be offered by all four major carriers then they could easily get to 5 million device sales a year.

27. Subie

Posts: 2393; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

You do have some good points, even if limiting your scope to just America. The KEYone was sold at all major carriers here in Canada yet was still the niche product that sold only to those who could appreciate what it was about.

28. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

You make a very good points, Dr. Phil. No exact amount can be found for payments, and I only read speculation as to if it is per handset or up front payment. I agree with you that if KEYone successor is offered on all four Carrier in U.S. that it will sell much better.

36. Venom

Posts: 3732; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I agree wholeheartedly although I have seen the KeyONE at a carrier store before. I definitely agree that the black edition should have been released from the start.

33. Venom

Posts: 3732; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

If they stamp their bloody name on it, then you are wrong. Again. You can't use that as an excuse to not acknowledge the poor sales of the KeyONE.

40. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

No I am not wrong. 70 percent of BlackBerry sales come from software, not hardware. They do not make smartphone hardware anymore. This is all documented fact. You cannot use your hate for BlackBerry to justify your ignorance about them.

7. meanestgenius

Posts: 22282; Member since: May 28, 2014

The important thing is that the company has survived, had a successful turnaround, and it making a profit now.

10. Venom

Posts: 3732; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

BB10 was dead on arrival even before Chen came in. Blackberry didn't take the iphone seriously and that caused them big time. Why else do you think they brought Chen in? He knows that blackberry is no longer able to make it in the hardware market, hence why they are so focused on their software offerings.

15. MDCHO

Posts: 769; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

BB10 not DOA before Chen. Chen took all competitors seriously. BlackBerry strengths have always been in software and security. Making phone was a side job for BlackBerry that was lucrative for many years. Chen return then to their roots of software after hardware stopped selling good.

5. Cat97

Posts: 1933; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Well...he did avoid a disaster for Blackberry, but didn't he cause the disaster in the first place, by delaying Android adoption ? Blackberry should seen the Android rise and should have switched to Android years ago.

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