BlackBerry hires new sales head from SAP

BlackBerry CEO John Chen continues to put his own stamp on the executive suite at the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone manufacturer, hiring former SAP AG executive Eric Johnson as president of global sales.

In the new position, Johnson, who most recently served as senior vice-president and general manager of SAP’s global database and technology business, will report directly to Chen.

“I am pleased to round out BlackBerry’s new executive leadership team with another outstanding addition today. I have worked with Eric extensively and have tremendous respect for his sales expertise and customer centric approach to business. Our carriers, partners, distributors and enterprise customers will benefit greatly from Eric’s approach,” said Chen, in a statement. “The experience that the majority of the new leadership team has in working together previously will drive change within the organization at a faster pace. I look forward to demonstrating these changes to the market.”

Johnson, who also held a number of other senior executive positions with SAP, running its business in North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is just the last senior hire at BlackBerry by Chen.

In December he hired another executive with SAP experience, James S. Mackey, as executive vice-president for corporate development and senior planning. Mackey came to BlackBerry from Open Text, and had also run corporate development at SAP. Chen also tapped Mark Wilson, a former Avaya CMO, as senior vice-president of marketing.

To make it three out of four senior hires with SAP experience, earlier in December Chen named John Sims as BlackBerry’s president of global enterprise services. Sims was previously president of SAP’s mobile services business.

The hires are likely explained by Chen’s own SAP connection – he was president and CEO of Sybase when the company was acquired by SAP in 2010.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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