BlackBerry announces management and board changes as Frank Boulben, Kristian Tear and Brian Bidulka leave company

By Adam Zeis on 25 Nov 2013 08:41 am EST

BlackBerry has today announced some changes in their board and management. Kristian Tear, the current COO and CMO Frank Boulben will be leaving the company. James Yersh will also be replacing Brian Bidulka as CFO. We know that at this point, many will be happy with the news of Frank Boulben's departure and we're anxious to see what pans out for a new BlackBerry CMO.

We'll follow up with more on this soon, but for now, check out the full press release below and hit up the comments with your thoughts!


Press Release

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - November 25, 2013) - BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY)(TSX:BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that as part of the on-going reorganization of BlackBerry, Kristian Tear, the Company's Chief Operating Officer, and Frank Boulben, the Company's Chief Marketing Officer, will leave the Company. BlackBerry also announced that James Yersh will replace Brian Bidulka as its Chief Financial Officer. Yersh, who has worked at BlackBerry since 2008, previously served as Senior Vice President, Controller and as the Company's head of Compliance. Bidulka will stay on as a special advisor to the CEO for the remainder of the fiscal year to assist with the transition.

"I thank Kristian and Frank for their efforts on behalf of BlackBerry. I look forward to working more directly with the talented teams of engineers, and the sales and marketing teams around the world to facilitate the BlackBerry turn-around and to drive innovation," said John Chen, Executive Chair and CEO of BlackBerry. "I also thank Brian for his eight years of dedicated service to BlackBerry. I look forward to working with James and his Finance team as we move forward, execute on our plans and deliver long-term value for our shareholders."

Chen added, "BlackBerry has a strong cash position and continues, by a significant margin, to be the top provider of trusted and secure mobile device management solutions to enterprise customers around the world. Building on this core strength, and in conjunction with these management changes, I will continue to align my senior management team and organizational structure, and refine the Company's strategy to ensure we deliver the best devices, mobile security and device management through BES 10, provide multi-platform messaging solutions with BBM, and expand adoption of QNX embedded systems."

BlackBerry also announced today that Roger Martin, a Board member since 2007, has resigned. "Our Board has benefitted from Roger's expertise and insights over the past six years and we wish him the best," said Barbara Stymiest, Board Member and Former Chair of the Board.

James Yersh has more than 15 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries. Yersh previously served as the Senior Vice President, Controller and head of Compliance for BlackBerry. Prior to joining BlackBerry in 2008, he held various senior positions at Cognos Incorporated and Deloitte.

Third Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results Conference Call Details

BlackBerry will discuss additional details around this announcement when it reports results for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 on December 20th, 2013. A conference call and live webcast will be held beginning at8 am ET, which can be accessed by dialing 1-800-814-4859 or through your BlackBerry® 10 smartphone, personal computer or BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet at A replay of the conference call will also be available at approximately 10 amby dialing (+1)416-640-1917 and entering pass code 4612570# or by clicking the link above on your BlackBerry® 10 smartphone, personal computer or BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet. This replay will be available until midnight ET January 3, 2014.

Topics: BBRY Apps

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry announces management and board changes as Frank Boulben, Kristian Tear and Brian Bidulka leave company



Lol, you're going to get ripped apart for this.

I don't know if you keep up on the news, but Biebs is an immature little db. Not exactly a "prosumer"

I'll be blunt: I was frankly unimpressed with Frank Boulben's tenure as CMO. The marketing for BB10 this year was pathetic. I left BB last year to use Android but have kept tabs on BB/10 via Crackberry and with the release of my interest in BB is piqued. With regards to BB10 hardware and in particular the Z10/Z30 I'm curious if BB could not update the hardware specs to something more current - in particular when looking at say the Lumia 1520 which now sports a quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC and a 1080p 5" screen which is a big step-up from the Lumia 1020 (other than the camera). An earlier comment was made about how MS was re-branding the Surface tablets (both RT and Pro) and how MS was moving away from cutesy dancing student/office worker commercials to something more business/productivity oriented - a great example of marketing repositioning . I also never agreed with Heins' assertion that the tablet space was done for BB. The PlayBook was simply not executed well. So I wish Mr. Chen well and I hopes he continues to kick-ass and chew bubble gum - honestly its going to take an "outsider" to reposition BB. Whether that will include consumer products in the future I don't know or refocusing on Business/Enterprise to start. For the first time in a long time, with the introduction of, I actually want a BB phone (Z30) to play with - I never though I'd ever say that again.

It's good to see a shake up. Stakeholders (including customers) need to see accountability. Hopefully there is a new strategy to go with it and they communicate it.

They have some cash to work with. They need to use it to implement a new strategy, not just keep the old one on life support.

Posted via CB10

So long Frank you d-bag. This guy may be able to market a razor blade, but text book marketing won't work in this industry.

Posted via CB10

I cram to understand why people make so many comments about Alicia Keys, I mean she did what she was paid to do.....sing. I mean companies have had spokespersons since the dawn if time....and yes they are always celebrity. they gave her a title. Also nothing new her husband has a title at to many companies to mention, and he is just celebrity. It's the company who is the failure fir marketing, and this company has been lacking long before Frank Boulben (good riddance).....they would do better to hire a company to do least for now.....i suggest Blue Flame mktng....or translation.....but what do I know I work for somebody.

Alicia Keys lost support almost immediately when she Tweeted about BlackBerry from her iPhone.

Posted via CB10

maybe its kind of good the marketing hasn't been there. While i love my z10 and think its the best phone the masses probably want ONLY because of apps and other MINOR things sooooo it might give blackberry the necessary time to REALLY knock this already awesome platform out rhe park with more features then MARKET the heck out of it but the way things are going in terms of 10.2.1 they are well on there way!

Z!0, Nothing Compares

Well, I guess since they couldn't get an American Corporation to buy the company, they figured they should at least bring in some American business folks to fix it.

Yes indeed. Let's get jiggy with this shit. ;) I actually met a lady from a company called Marketstar. Apparently they are marketing support for BlackBerry. At least one of their accounts. They don't have a product rep in Utah. I would be happy to take this position. :D


Arrogant Prick, OUT.!!!!


Y A A A Y !

This is exactly what I'd hoped Mr Chen would do. I just hope he can find some the folks to replace them. It may be difficult to attract the right C-level talent. Whoever they are, they better enjoy a challenge.

Let's just hope it is not too late for or beloved BlackBerry.

PS: CrackBerry Kevin for CMO!

My ZeeTen strikes again! (Z10STL100-3/

Bye bye, Boo Boo Boulben!

Adieu, Boo Boo!!

Katy Perry rocks a Blackberry. She has the highest number of followers on Twitter. They should get her on board.

No reason to think some new person will do any better, is there? They've gone through tons of CMOs, all with the same results.

The challenge BB has is their ingrained culture of 'we enable smart people to do things quickly' - rather than building out and enabling a complete ecosystem. Without that ecosystem, they are failing.

Roll in the new people and get all fired up for new things that will never happen. Too late for BB I'm afraid.

BB needs fire way more than CMO and COO. The people who are responsible for device reset, documentation big errors, Map API bugs ( and several months to fix a bug that should take only a day), the people who made the decision to out source BB Map to TCS, the manufacturing team that cannot align the edge of Z30, the industry design team that made Z30's appearance mediocre, the team within the BES that still sits on old MDS, all need to be fired.

Then, folks, you will find BB cannot find people in Canada to replace them all. Fine, John Chen can hire in California, in Shanghai, in Beijing and all around the world. If he does it right 6000 people (with new hires around the world) can worth 60000 people of the current quality.

It is Canada, its lack of qualified high-tech labour in particular, that failed BlackBerry. If this problem is not fixed at the root, no CxO can save BB. It is not a matter of a few people.

In fact BlackBerry as of today still has some brilliant engineers and manages who are THE best in this industry. But Mr. Chen + these people alone cannot save BlackBerry.

BlackBerry needs an elite army of QUALIFIED hightech labour.

Starting from HR and QA(s), shake up the entire BB team; otherwise garbage (HR)in garbage (QA)out.

Sorry to be rude here. I want to get the message across so that people don't think it is merely a matter of CxO. I am a Canadian.

Ok, I am not a Canadian but had trouble following your rant. Did you use a translator to post this??? Anyway,
I think that your view is flawed and all over the place. They need to start somewhere and this is a good start. I mean Boulden??? Come on. how long has everyone here been saying that he needs to go. Thorsten didn't have the balls to do what needed to get done. Mr. Chen...good start!

Lack of qualified tech workers... wow... you do know Canadians have always been world leaders in communication right... we invented the phone... we invented the smart phone.... Google and apple are setting up shop in waterloo ....why do you think that is.... OK sure BlackBerry doesn't have 10's of billions to throw at solutions but make no mistake the talent is here... don't get me wrong I understood what you were getting at and I know you were making a point about BlackBerry missing the boat... but I don't think it's a lack of talent


OK, good job Mr. Chen. Now let's get a good marketing firm in place ASAP that gets BlackBerry on TV commercials and carrier support. That will make a world of difference.

Posted via CB10

Signs of hope here. The most positive thing I have heard from BB in a long time. Somebody is in charge who seems to understand the areas that need improvement and the strengths they have and has a focus. Now, does he understand this fast paced, rapidly evolving, mobile computing/communication market they are in?

I'm just surprised that someone was actually getting paid for the role of Chief Marketing Officer, which to me seemed non existent.

Well done Mr. Chen, the turn around begins now!!

Posted via CB10

COO and CMO, I think these roles do not make effect on devices, platforms, etc.
I believe in CEO's changes, as we known, marketing strategy is always a weakness of BB, these changes will bring new fresh air and more effective.
Anw, I like Q30 :)

Seems like marketing is on the mend. Now, educating the young kids selling phones at booths and carrier stores is going to be as important. Yesterday, one told me matter-of-fact, BlackBerry is going out of business in 4 months. Imagine how many BlackBerry phones they are going to sell there.

From my BlackBerry Z 10

I'd like to see BlackBerry commercials that market the same way ford trucks are. In the hands of men, who get shit done!

Posted via CB10

Let me celebrate with everyone else. Way to go John, thanks for not wasting any time with booting that clown.

Posted via CB10

The superbowl ad was not only absurd but it represented a poor decision. Those millions could have been spent on TV/radio all over the country and also into free Z's and Q's for store reps. BlackBerry surely understands this now (one would hope). The real battle is fought when the "expert" kid at T-Mobile says "hey how about this android phone instead?" and walks away with better commission.

Posted via CB10

First I get my new Xbox One in the mail and then I find out Frank has been let go. I'm not sure which to be happier about today? Thank You Mr Chen. Now I know you're serious. I wish you the best moving forward.

Posted via CB10

Now is a good time for Blackberry to lure and hire Allison Johnson, the former VP-global marketing communications at Apple to the fold to get things started!!

Seeing Management Shake ups is extremely normal circumstances. For Bbry, it was Loooong overdue. The absolute abysmal non-effort to "market" BB 10 and the initial device was very painfull for all of us in the nation.

This is in fact very good news. I am pleased to see Mr Chen moving forward at a decent clip. Guys/gals..we have waited a long time - we all know that bB10 is without a doubt, superior to all..

Now its simply INNOVATION & slam dunk marketing: Show the world what we already know!

Go BBry! ! !

Posted via the Superlative CUE 10.. . Zed Tirty on the Horizon!

Hoping for some honesty and candor, but most of all competence from the new suite.

Z30. " I'm back in black. Yes I'm back in black!!! "

Although I am not a Canadian, I've been hearing about this all day while listening to my favorite radio station, Jazz FM 91 in Toronto. You gotta' love the "Tune In Radio" App.

The changes are certainly warranted. The news I kept hearing touted how lackluster the sales of "10" have been after a much trumped launch, combined with poor management direction.

At this point, with Droid ruling the World Market, iPhone still big and in there, and now WindowsPhone, Berry has to do something before it is so far gone not even King Midas could save it.

Maybe if the Capitalists on "Shark Tank" got involved? Kidding.

Since Frank had such little time, it was easier to show what a CMO can't do...

I hope he turns into a million rubber ducks.

Amazing thing Is that we were called armchair CEOs and all of our predictions were spot on. When we said the Superbowl ad was crap, bb ads don't show phone features or the ad itself is very low keyed.

Nobody in my country has even heard of the z30 and we were big BB fans, huge. Haven't seen a q10 in the wild, only z10s. Q5 was a complete expensive joke.

BlackBerry need to do more to leverage the NSA revelations.

This is how Microsoft is fighting Google:

Why not start a similar campaign against invasion of privacy on cell phones.

Leverage this type of information:


Capalize on this opportunity and quickly!

Posted via CB10

Good riddance.

And yes, this: "How about hire someone who has credentials, experience and a solid track record in marketing. Celebrity endorsements are one thing. Giving them real responsibility or real titles is stupid. These people can barely perform, let alone provide strategic marketing direction for a corporation like BB."

By the way, thank you so much former execs for departing with tens of millions in our money for 1 years work during which the company was for the most part just driven further into the ground.