Feature Article

December 19, 2013

John Sims, Former SAP Mobile Boss is Hired by BlackBerry to Head Global Enterprise Business

BlackBerry is not wasting any time in refashioning itself. At the beginning of November I told you that instead of selling itself, BlackBerry received a sizable investment from a group of investors led by Fairfax Financial.

At that time some immediate changes were made. The important change was that by the end of that day, John Chen replaced Thorsten Heins to become interim CEO of BlackBerry. In the past month and a half, Chen has made it clear that his focus and first priority is BlackBerry’s enterprise business.

A few weeks after his appointment, Chen began to clean house, as it were. Throughout the executive ranks at BlackBerry, a lot of people have been shown the door. So far, two positions that can be considered extremely important, COO and CMO were eliminated from the company. Just recently we also saw the departure of BlackBerry’s executive vice president of global sales, vice president of strategic alliances and former director of global public policy.

The beginning of December saw an open letter coming from BlackBerry to its business customers. The letter re-enforced the commitment that the company made to its enterprise business. If we can remember that far back, BlackBerry started as a company that offered the highest security features, making the smartphone a prized possession of corporations and governments.

The changes that have been made so far concerning the executive ranks along with this open letter is a sign from Chen that his focus is to get the team to shift back to its core business. The push is shifting away from devices with the focus being heavy on BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 10. The company's new BES 10 platform allows its clients to manage BlackBerry, Android and iOS-based devices on their internal networks.

There has been much said about all of the people that are leaving BlackBerry. Today we have some news about someone who will be joining the company. Earlier this week, it was announced that John Sims would be joining the BlackBerry team in January.

John Sims was the president of SAP’s mobile services business. In January he will step in as BlackBerry’s president of global enterprise services. He brings with him over 20 solid years of experience of working with companies that supply mobile telecommunications companies.

In addition to his SAP position, Sims also held leadership positions at 724 Solutions, TANTAU Software, Intrado and Tandem Computers. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of CTIA. This is the industry group that represents the wireless industry.

John Chen said, "I am pleased to welcome such a seasoned executive as John to BlackBerry to help lead our key business operations through our ongoing reorganization and transition. His extensive experience in transforming businesses, redefining brands and motivating teams will be a tremendous asset to BlackBerry as we reshape the Company to be more nimble and focused. The changes we are making demonstrate our commitment to innovating for current customers who count on BlackBerry, and the new users who are just learning how powerful and compelling the BlackBerry 10 platform can be. John will be central to all of those efforts."

We can see from his extensive background that John Sims has a vast amount of experience in coming into this position at BlackBerry. The real question will be if it enough to turn the company around. All of this comes as BlackBerry is on the verge of releasing its third quarter results for fiscal 2014. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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