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BlackBerry CEO John Chen Steps Down

BlackBerry (BB) has announced that long-time chief executive officer (CEO) John Chen will retire from the company on Nov. 4.

Chen had led the Waterloo, Ontario-based technology company for a decade and also served as executive chairman of its board of directors.

Chen was appointed to BlackBerry in November 2013 with a mandate to transition the company from a smartphone maker into a cybersecurity software firm.

Most recently Chen announced that BlackBerry would effectively split into two companies, a cybersecurity firm, and a separate Internet of Things (IoT) business, which is planning to hold an initial public offering in 2024.

The company also announced earlier this year that it was exploring a range of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including a potential sale.

BlackBerry most recently reported a quarterly loss of $42 million U.S., compared with a loss of $54 million U.S. a year earlier.

In a letter to BlackBerry employees posted on the company's website, Chen said he's saddened to be retiring “with little notice.”

Before joining BlackBerry, Chen served as CEO of Sybase, a California-based enterprise software company.

The CEO role at BlackBerry will be filled on an interim basis by board member Richard Lynch, said the company.

In the 10 years that Chen led BlackBerry, the company’s stock declined 38% to now trade at $5.02 per share, putting it on the cusp of penny stock status.