CDN’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2015 – No 8: John Chen

In 2015 John Chen, the CEO of beleaguered BlackBerry, was everywhere. Chen’s year was similar to a local politician kissing babies and cutting ribbons at super market openings. Chen makes this year’s list because he moved the needle forward for BlackBerry after several years in the doldrums.

After a restructuring period that saw the drastic sale of its assets and pruning by the thousands of its workforce Chen led a re-building charge at the Canadian company.

Led by the release of the Android-based Priv smartphone, BlackBerry made several consecutive smart decisions in 2015. The Passport became an accepted purpose-build option for many smartphone users.

BlackBerry made three significant acquisitions with secure networked crisis communications provider AtHoc, the Israel-based security company WatchDox and former rival Good Technology, which offers secure applications and containerization.

For a company most industry pundits and customers believed was part of the Walking Dead, Chen showed in 2015 that the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker is very much alive.

It’s uncertain if the steps made by Chen in 2015 will result in a bright future for BlackBerry, but at least its CEO changed the conversation from BlackBerry’s death to I wonder what’s next.

Click here to check out the full list of CDN’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2015.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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