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BlackBerry gets new enterprise services boss, inks BBM deal with LG


Just ahead of its next quarterly earnings release on Friday, Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone company BlackBerry appointed a new executive to head its enterprise services businesses and announced a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) deal with LG.

BlackBerry lost a number of senior executives after the departure of former CEO Thorsten Heins. BlackBerry executive chair and interim CEO John Chen is moving to fill those vacancies, and he reached into the ranks of business software vendor SAG AG for his new president of global enterprise services, John Simms.

Simms, who will formally join BlackBerry in January, was most recently president of SAP’s mobile services business. He has more than 20 years of experience with companies that supply mobile telecommunications products and services to wireless operators, including 724 Solutions, TANTAU Software, Intrado and Tandem Computers.

“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,” said Chen, in a statement. “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.”

BkackBerry has also inked a deal with LG to preinstall BBM on the LG G Pro Lite (Android) smartphone in markets around the world. Other LG phones are expected to follow. BBM was released for Apple and iOS earlier this year as a free download, and BlackBerry is looking to grow a critical mass of BBM users before it begins to explore monetization options through BBM Channels, which launched last month.

“People across the globe are using BBM to connect with each other and the enthusiasm has been phenomenal,” said Andrew Bocking, executive vice-president for BBM at BlackBerry, in a statement. “We’re extremely pleased that LG Electronics will help bring their customers a more seamless experience with BBM by preloading the app, starting with the G Pro Lite in key markets.”