Farewell letter from former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins to employees

Thorsten Heins is still 'BlackBerry's biggest fan'

By Adam Zeis on 6 Nov 2013 05:51 pm EST

As BlackBerry goes through yet another transition, Thorsten Heins will be stepping down as interim CEO John Chen takes his place. We're sure there's a lot going on in Waterloo as all the pieces are put into place, but even though things may be a bit frantic right now, Thorsten Heins took the time to send a note to current BlackBerry employees earlier this week. 

In the letter, Thorsten explains all the happenings within BlackBerry, from the end of the strategic review to the appointing of John Chen as interim CEO. He even had some motivational words for all of the loyal employees as to what's next.

In terms of next steps, your day-to-day responsibilities will remain the same through this transition.  As a team, each and every one of you plays an important role in BlackBerry’s success, so I thank you for staying focused on delivering the high quality products and services that our customers have come to expect from BlackBerry throughout this transition.

He goes on to say that "You can continue to count me as BlackBerry’s biggest fan.  Please know that I will be cheering from the sidelines."

Check out the full letter below.

Dear BlackBerry Team Members,

I am writing to share some important news with you today regarding BlackBerry.

This morning, we announced that we have entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment of U.S. $1 billion from Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and other institutional investors, which is a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.

Today’s announcement also marks the conclusion of the review of strategic alternatives process being conducted by the Special Committee.  After conducting a thorough review of strategic alternatives, we are pleased to announce this agreement that supports a strong future for BlackBerry.  As you will see in the press release we issued this morning, this agreement also comes with some changes to BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and management team, effective upon the closing of the transaction, which is expected to be completed in mid-November.

Today I bid farewell to this great company, but leave with the confidence of knowing that BlackBerry’s future is in your capable hands. Together, we have accomplished a great deal over the past six years, and I thank you for your loyalty and dedication along the way.

John Chen, a renowned expert in technology and global markets, will be appointed to the position of Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and Interim CEO pending completion of a search for a new Chief Executive Officer.  Mr. Chen’s experience transforming Sybase from a mature technology company into a high-growth enterprise data management, data warehousing, mobility management and analytics innovator, as well as his deep roots in the technology industry will be invaluable to BlackBerry’s future.   Additionally, Prem Watsa, a long time BlackBerry supporter and one of Canada’s preeminent investors will rejoin the Board as Lead Director.

I’m sure you all have lots of questions about what this means – and that’s why we are hosting a town hall meeting later this week where you will have the opportunity to hear directly from the new leadership.

As always, it is important for BlackBerry to speak with one voice.  Should you receive any calls from investors please forward them to Paul Carpino.  Media and other outside inquiries should be forwarded to Heidi Davidson.

In terms of next steps, your day-to-day responsibilities will remain the same through this transition.  As a team, each and every one of you plays an important role in BlackBerry’s success, so I thank you for staying focused on delivering the high quality products and services that our customers have come to expect from BlackBerry throughout this transition.

You can continue to count me as BlackBerry’s biggest fan.  Please know that I will be cheering from the sidelines.



It's a nice final note, and honestly, we're going to miss Thorsten. He may have not panned out for the company in the long haul, but we loved his passion and dedication for the brand. 

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

Reader comments

Farewell letter from former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins to employees



He's got 22 million reasons to be! :D

"If you can't soar with the eagles then don't fly with the flock!" (BBM#18)

was just about to say that lol

Posted via Lilly's hand stitched Frankensteined Z10 powered by 10.2.(latest Leak)

Most BlackBerry employees cheered when Thorston got fired, although he took about $20M as package.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

I understand people want to be gentle and go easy with Thorston's leaving, but do not be stupid. Do not need to turn his black into white. He did many thing wrong, same as other incompetent CEO. We do not have to make up for him here. He took his salary, not just $1. He want to take $55M and run, but too bad, he did not make it. Now he ran with $22M.

Just let him rest in peace with his $$. We will turn to a new page of BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

People need to learn to get some fucking perspective and that includes you, my friend. He wasn't actively trying to milk BB dry of funds, nor trying to do a bad job - it's not like he is a malevolent bastard. And did he in fact do a bad job? I don't think so.
Would BB10 have been out if he wasn't there? And if not, how would RIM look like today with nothing but legacy devices? Would sales have plummeted (probably) at an even more drastic rate? Exactly, we don't fucking know. But one thing is for certain, we have three new competitive handsets to play with, and an app store growing equally more competitive. Things we all were craving, clawing and shouting for.
He didn't succeed in closing the ship's growing leak, but he did bloody succeed in giving us consumers what we craved for, to boot. How about praising him for these things?
So allow me to repeat myself: Get some fucking perspective...

Thanks for setting the record straight. Thorsten at his core is an operational man. He know how to get things built quickly and efficiently. BB10 is not just a competitive OS, it is frankly the best. Every new update, there is something new to discover that is fresh and useful in my daily life. Then there are the Enterprise Servers which are best in class for security. And don't forget cross platform BBM. Do any of you honestly think that the Mike and Jim show could have pulled this off. Fat chance of that.
BlackBerry now has a highly competitive package of products and that is because of Thorsten's discipline.

Posted via CB10

BBRY would have had been in a much better posit if thor wasn't the CEO, he was operations man, yes he did one thing great, cost cutting! thats it! he screwed up rest of the stuff.

Without a doubt the OS10 is the best/stable/secure, i couldn't give up my Z10, but how many of these OS10 devices did the company sell? not much, why? bcoz ppl don't know they even exist (till couple of months even after launch) or whats the advantage of them over iphone/androids, and why they did not know? bcoz of no marketing, and who hired the marketing head? you know the answer and what i mean to say.

I don't disagree with you in regards to marketing. But marketing last years products gets you nowhere. That was BB's problem two years ago. They were always behind the curve ball, end of story. The first thing they had to do was make their products competitive which they are. They needed an operational manager to get that done and that was Thorsten's job. He accomplished this in an environment where BB were losing market share and revenue. Like it or not, that means job cuts.

In terms of moving forward, I agree that one needs a different CEO with a different skill set. Certainly, there has to be a focus on marketing but it is well beyond that. BB needs to build strategic partnerships to take BB10 to the next level. This isn't Thorsten's skill set so someone new needs to be brought in. This doesn't mean John Chen is any better or worse than Thorsten, just different in terms of what they bring to the table.

It is not Thorston's skill set? Then he is a bad CEO.

All you said seems you will need 10 CEO in total to make things happen in 10 steps one after another. CEO1 did the innovation and operation, CEO2 do marketing and customer relation, CEO3 do HR and internal communication, CEO4... 5,6,7...

Oh man, this is stupid. You need 10 VPs leaded by one CEO and doing these at the same time, understand?

By the time a good CEO comes with perfect marketing strategy, BB10 is obsolete.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

Just ask yourself a simple question. If John Chen was at the helm of BB, 2 years ago would we have BB10. My personal view is no. He just didn't have the operational skill set and working knowledge of the company to bring it to completion. BB is entering a different phase of a major transition and they just need people with a different skill set at the top. That is it.

The answer is YES. Mike L had set the tone for BB10. Thorston was just a follower on BB10. If John Chen was appointed to be CEO 2 years ago, yes BB10 would be released, or maybe even earlier.

Also, BB10 maybe the killer of BlackBerry, so when you put BB10 as a mobile OS bible, you really need to think twice. If BB10 is really so great, why BB10 is just taking a niche market? Do not tell me this is all BlackBerry marketing team's fault. No!

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

Quickly? NO!
Efficiently? NO!

Whatever he did, that is far from the requirement for a CEO, understand?

He is a good candidate to be a manager. What perspective? From CEO perspective, he failed. He lead BlackBerry into disaster.

You guys need to know what CEO is supposed to do. CEO is not SVP or VP.

BB10? Nobody knows if BlackBerry even should adpodt BB10. Time will tell. That is CEO level decision. Maybe BB10 is what killed BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

From marketing perspective, it is not all CMO Frank's fault. Why? Because it was Thorston who found and hired Frank as CMO. In short, bad CEO set up bad senior management team, obviously will lead to bad results.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

You could have said all that without the F word, but maybe thats your perspective. As for my opinion, he did a horrible job as CEO, didn't hire the right team (marketing socially), didn't see thru that deadlines are met, and many others.

If you think that RIM/BBRY wouldn't have launched bb10, z10,Q10/5 etc if thor wasn't there, then you are wrong, any bloody person in that position would have done even better then what he did, even the previous co-ceo's could have performed much better. So stop giving baseless support for him. and for Apps/BB world growing and all, i think the credit goes to Alec and the way he developed relations with the developers, not thor

It's actually quite funny to watch all of you armchair quarterbacking all of this, or to borrow a Chinese proverb, "discussing military strategy on paper".
Have you seen the older, even more pathetic attempts at marketing? The BlackBerry avatars (or whatever they called it), or the flash mobs at Apple stores? The current marketing is definitely not the best, but also an improvement over the stupidity that came before.
And why do you think there's Major Malfunctions in BlackBerry? Did you think that Heins set that up? He did more to break down the silos than the previous CEOs did.

Baseless support, hah

+1. To add to that, looking at the time-line, we can understand that it takes more than 23 months to take a project from concept stage to final product. So we cant say he was wholly responsible for the launch of BB10 nor the down-ward spiral or the co. on the whole. I think, he was captain of the sinking ship and who knows, he might have delayed the disappearance of the co. altogether. Who knows, this might be good enough combined with a new strategy and team for the co. to resurface. Who knows, the current initiatives and the new ones he might have taken could have eventually helped.

BlackBerry 10 would still be released with or without Thorston. I was delayed when he was the CEO.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

All the achievement you talked about above are his JOB. He can do his job but did not do it well. That is huge difference.

If he could not even get BB10 out, he should have been fired a year ago, understand? Every CEO can do bad job easily.

He's performance did not meet the expectation for a CEO. In other words, he is not qualified to be a CEO. Maybe he is just OK to be a SVP.

He failed, but people here try to make up for his corpse. This is stupid. Leader is leader. If you failed, you need to admit it. Otherwise there is no bad leader in this world.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

Well put !!!!

I liked him from minute one and felt he was dealt a pretty ordinary hand and was trying t manage a monolith. I never felt like he was trying to put one over on us............even with the Playbook disaster.
I wish him well

Now it is the time to see when that newly married CMO Frank will be fired, plus the new COO Chris Tear. John Chen need to fire a whole bunch of CxO, SVP, VP, Director and Managers.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.


This post warms my heart. Many people have to go. John Chen, please read the thread. I've read 8 posts before commenting and I echo the trend... but I'd of course also go after the Product Managers, Marketing, Communications, Investor Relations, Developer Relations, Government Relations, Carrier Relations.. oh hellz. There's too much to list. This is just masturbatory.

John I know you'll do the above and more, you've done the turn around.

Finally. Keep moving.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry devices are always out of power in retail store, meaning potential customers cannot try out the BB10 experience first hand. And this apparently happens regularly all over the world.

I have personally and repeatedly seen this first hand here in one of the leading cities in Asia. Does BlackBerry staff ever do spot checks of sales outlets?

Really hope John Chen is reading this...

hey, as a customer i´ve plugged in BB phones in stores sooo many times here in Portugal tooooo, man it´s annoying ...................
LOVING AND ROCKING MY Z10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have done that too last week when went to check-out few phones for my girl. Once it had enough juice for a demo, the keyboard suggestions were not enabled. There wasn't even a Q10 for demo. It was dummy. Sales-men don't even seem to promote blackberry enough while they were promoting Lenovo phones. None of the customers were waiting to check-out Z10. Thats a sad sight! Yes, marketing needs to do one hell of a job at-least now!

By now we should have BlackBerry owned outlets. In the malls rent kiosks, or small store spaces unique to BlackBerry devices and hey selling, demonstrating. Hold BB10 mini classes. Shit I can sell these devices to many iphone and Samsung lovers. Find out what the customers needs are and demonstrate how easy BB10 does tasks

Trolls should be forced to use BB10!

The marketing team should already have their heads in a guillotine, if not minus them already! Start there. Plenty to go around lol

Posted via CB10

Lol yup.

He did what he could. Of course he wasn't perfect and probably realized he made mistakes along the way but he meant good at the end for the company.

Now we start a new chapter with a new interim ceo for BlackBerry.


I'll always have respect for you!

-STV on Z10STL100-3/ TMO US

Based on available evidence this letter is way more consistent with his way of handling things, starting from the CrackBerry phone call on Day 1 to handling Q' s from the press in a freeform and open manner at BB WORLD etc. Etc. Personally a good human. It's too bad Chen and Heins won't be able to work together as CEO and COO. That I think was Watsa's preferred option 2 years ago.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

So suddenly the organization that can't do anything right (according to the critics here) are masters if PR? What is the simplest explanation? That is the most likely truth of it.

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

+1000000, thanks for bringing to fruition the awesome BB10 platform and devices, and the multi-platform BBM. You did your job in getting the organization into shape and delivered the visions of Mike (BB10) and Jim (X-platform BBM). Now it's Chen's job to market, sell and monetize the valuable products and services.

Thank you for your responsible comment. Every man has a role to play. Heins has played his well. Now its Chan's. Hope he does his well too.

Posted via CB10

Appreciate your comment. Too bad not many agree. Just like the masses who underestimate the capability of this great system and device. Not to mention taking BBM cross platform. Thank you and thank you, T.H.

Posted via CB10

Yes, Thanks for f****** up everything. Too bad you didnt get 55 m for it.

Posted via an outstanding Z30

You're placing the blame on the wrong guy. Mike and Jim deserve the lion's share of blame for what happened under Thor's tenure. An organisation the size of BlackBerry doesn't turn on a dime, and yes there were delays in releasing BlackBerry 10 but Mike and Jim probably would have rushed out an even rougher version of it.

Timing is also of huge importance and Thor taking the reins two or three years beforehand could have also made a difference. All in all, he's proven himself to be a strong operations guy, but at the time that isn't what BlackBerry needed.

Posted via CB10

He executed well with the BlackBerry 10 launch. But then came the fragmented software updates, neglect of marketing, the Z10 rebooting scandal, reneging on the PlayBook promise, failed initial BBM launch, the app gap frustration, faltering carrier relations, bad earnings reports, poor stock performance, the departure of high ranking managers, downsizing, and a "for sale“ sign. The bottom simply fell out.

The year started out well for Thorsten Heins but he seemed more and more helpless as time went on.

Exactly. Once things started to get away from him and wasn't in his comfort zone anymore, he didn't have the skill set to stop the downward spiral.

BS, if things would have turned around he'd have gotten the glory. He was at the helm. He failed. Period.

Oh shut the fuck up will you...he's not infallible and he did the best he could under the circumstances.

Posted via CB10

He did the best to negotiate his $55M package in May 2013, while telling employees to laser focus on the wrong decisions.

Thorston, gone with $$$ to hell.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

He did his best with everything except marketing, sales, communications and public relations. Other than those minor oversights, Thor was stellar.

Then everyone is stellar on this earth!

You need to understand what does qualification and requirements mean.

Business is not easy, so we cannot just let people take big $$$ and do easy job. Even a housekeeper works very hard day and night. No free lunch.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

We really don't know of Thor's work ethic. He likely put in long hours. The fruits of his labor didn't translate to sales. It was more about streamlining. Kind of a sad way to go.

NSA security news was like a one inch putt he just seemed to walk away from without even calling a gimmie. Sheesh

Don Diego loves and endorses the Zed.

@Spawn12 Agree with you. He actually did a good job. He downsized and still developed and released the BB10 platform. He just got thrown under the but right after the disappointing results reported in June. People had way too many expectations for that quarter. I mean I was hearing ridiculous predictions of sales. He needed to be given at least 3 or 4 more quarters to execute a plan. At that moment in June he was done. Everyone just turned against him and he had nowhere to turn.

Agreed Nice Note and Nice guy too...worked hard as well in a very difficult situation ...But this change was required as clearly he lacked execution experience required for turn around...Time to move on...Looking forward to Excellent and Proven leadership under Mr Chen.

Posted via CB10

By the way, worst,''keynote'' in history. Feels like being at the morgue. Thanks for all dude...

Posted via an outstanding Z30

Nothing personal against the man, very professional and appeared passionate about his work, but as a longtime Blackberry user and a stock holder, I'm not sold that his brief tenure was worth the price we paid.

Name any CEO in any company history, how many actually deserve what they get compensated for? No different from the professional sports. It's the market value that determine how much he gets.

3 names out of perhaps millions of CEO's? My point is corporate businesses are pyramid game. The goal for many CEO's these days are about cutting back the work force/wage expenses/out sourcing to produce positive results. Rarely involve in any creative business ideas. The life span of a CEOs average 5-7 years hardly an encouragement of long term survival of a company. They come in they did the cutting they get their compensation package and move on to the next company. It's a corporate musical chairs. Nice work if you can get it.

Although he failed to bring success to the company, no one will be able to beat his charm

Posted via CB10

Charming ? Hes colder as as a coffin. We need outstanding marketing. We need à ''Steve Jobs '' We need anything but that crappy greedy f**** with the shareholders f*****.

We need somethings else.

We need BlackBerry.

Posted via an outstanding Z30

I don't care what anyone says.. I liked Thorsten. He did a lot in a short amount of time. To me without him we wouldn't have got to know BB10 and all its potential and benefits. He was also the man to make the hard decisions to keep the company cash healthy and have the ability to survive thus far. He could have pushed the marketing/apps more but I wasn't privy to all the plans shortcomings he had to deal with running the company in the state that it was in. I had hope that Thorsten would have stayed at BB in some capacity because I do believe his strength could still help BB in the long run.

All the best to TH in his future career. A good guy nonetheless.

Are you still whining about BB10 not coming to your playbook.. get over it. I've got 4 play books in my house that I got for a sweet deal and even though BlackBerry tried even I could figure out it would be long shot in the end. Remember that nobody can predict the future. Stop being a baby.

Posted via CB10

What did he lie about? He may has said things he meant at the time that just did not work out. That is not lying. Its called changing plans. Who hasn't intended to doing something only to realize it is not going to work out and then shelve it?

Well said. Glad he believes in the company and the brand. He may not have worked out in the long run, but he was key in bringing BB10 to market. For that I Thank him.

Even if he didn't stay for the long haul, Thorston sill brought BB10 to market. And for that I Thank him.

Farewell Mr ketchup. I know you tried your best and people turned on you really fast. It's a tough job. Enjoy your millions :)

Posted from my Z30

Best part...

" It's a nice final note, and honestly, we're going to miss Thorsten. He may have not panned out for the company in the long haul, but we loved his passion and dedication for the brand. "

Posted via CB10

This is an excellent farewell. I truly believe Thorsten had the best of intentions, despite everyone focusing on his executive pay off (that happens everywhere, unfortunately). Looking forward, I am optimistic to BB's future with John Chen at the helm. This will bring much needed outside perspective, and hopefully they'll focus on not only on improving their products, but also in preparing for the future and working hard toward solving their image problem.

Do u think 22mil is enough to go retirement and have a good sleep. I believe he would trade 22mil any day if it was enough to compensate and make blackberry successful. Give him a break, he honestly did his best but unfortunately it wasn't enough to turn blackberry around. The two devices that I'm loving, the Z10 and Z30 may not have seen the light of day thanks for the short ride as the CEO of blackberry .Fair well thorsten

Posted via CB10


You will be missed. Thanks for bringing BB10 to market and making the difficult calls to make the company more lean. I'm glad the replacement seems very to be very capable.

PS. I don't care what anyone else says. You didn't exactly have an easy job to do.


Posted via CB10

Hmm... he did a good job in the operational aspect of the company... and he ran the company at a difficult time when BB10 couldn't make it in the market.

Although he took many important decisions, I believe many other things went wrong and he took all the blame and departed as the bad guy... He has given the company a fresh outlook and hope for the people with now Mr. John Chen at the helm we look positively at BlackBerry..

Posted via the awesome keyboard on Z10STL100-1/ using CB10 App

No matter what others say, I liked Thorsten as he is the first CEO of a big company that spoke to me with his passion, dedication and humility. So I instantly liked him.

Good luck on your future endeavors, Thor!

Posted via CB10

It's sad that people talk about his 22 Million paycheck but you know that he took tuff decisions and put his reputation as a C level executive when he took this job

Posted via CB10

Good job by Thor here. I liked him as CEO, but still excited to see what these new guys will bring to the table. Hope to continue using BlackBerry for years to come.

BlackBerry 10 United

Thanks Thorsten for doing the best you could, wish u all the best in the future. Thanks to u you brought us the awesome BlackBerry 10 devices and software out.

Posted via CB10

Thor did his part in bringing BB10 to the market and cutting out the fat in the company for a sustainable future. Let the guy live.

Posted via CB10 on my Verizon Z10

Thor was perceived to be doing well until the Q2 ER stock price nosedive and subsequent declines.

If there was a greater marketing effort and incentives for sales retail people to push BB10 then I would truly feel he did his best.

STL3 1791 hybrid w/10.2.1 bars

A job well done imo. Made a few mistakes, but who doesn't.

I feel as though Chen is in for part three of the transition because he specializes in profitability, not because Heins did that bad of a job.

Farewell TH, I hope you have learned and we are able to make the best of your efforts!

It is sad to see BlackBerry funs and CrackBerry funs are so stupid.

If you think Thorston is a good CEO, then every CEO is good. He failed his job as leader so he need to take the responsibility, not just the $$$.

Ask yourself, how to evaluate the performance of a CEO.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

Has anyone considered BlackBerry's market position before Thorsten Heins stepped in? The company could've rolled over and went straight to the grave, and instead the guy stepped up and defended the brand and, again instead of shutting down, ushered in BlackBerry 10.
I don't know what kind of miracles everyone was expecting, but I rather believe he did the best with what he had. Its not as if the man didn't care on lick about the company. One way or the other, I wish him well anyway.

Exactly. How quickly some forget that at one point it was debatable if BB10 would even make it to market.

I think Thor did his job and it was a very tough job. I also think he wasn't finished - but ran out of time. I hope Chen can continue the turn around.

Posted via CB10

Agree wholeheartedly, BitPusher and Vorkosigan. He had a tough job to revive BlackBerry; he was the handpicked successor to Jim and Mike but did continue the work to bring BB10 to market. Marketing was better than in BBOS days but still no where near good enough. The general public didn't even know there were new BlackBerrys out. Indeed, there was a lot that could/should have been done, most notably in marketing and carrier relations, but I did see him at BlackBerry Live and from what I saw there and in other places, he did seem to care and he wanted others to care, too. No, he wasn't perfect. No-one is. But he was expected to be BlackBerry's saviour a year ago. Now here comes Chen. Let's see how Chen is evaluated a year from now.

Dependence on carrier relation was what got Thor (and Jim and Mike before him) into trouble, esp. in the US. Remember how Thor toured around the world selling BB10 to the carriers to gain support? Support that was promised or they thought they got, but didn't materialize?

I hope Chen has learned the costly lessons from the three past CEOs. Carriers now have many choices from already popular brands to easily push to customers so why would they spend any effort/cash to push new phones from a come-back kid. BlackBerry must do its own marketing and selling directly to customers. Online direct sales is a good start. Once they have some traction, they should start opening some BlackBerry stores in key cities. They must create customer demand before carriers will come around and not steer BB potential customers to rival phones.

Interesting you point this out. I've commented something similar in a separate thread where 4 out of 5 floor reps at T-Mobile stores here in the US tried to discourage my plan to purchase a BB10 device. They bashed it so as they so proudly held their iphone, android and even windows phones trying to convince me otherwise. Ultimately, I acquired my Q10 and I'm sure glad I did. Looking forward to the Z30.

Agree completely, jsocan. BB can't be reliant on the salespeople as they, for the most part, are there to make their money. They are required to watch training videos on new products but as with most people in retail, they'll go where the commission and the easy sale is. And if they've had a few returns they'll shy away from that product as it affects their numbers. I've yet to see retail salespeople who don't also have a "goal" or quota.

BRAVO! That is exactly the problem. BlackBerry and BB10 completely has been screwed by the carriers who are largely influenced by Apple and Google.

Trolls should be forced to use BB10!

I truly believe he made tough choices to try and turn BlackBerry around. I am not sure there was anyone else that would have done what he did to try and make BlackBerry a success. As far as his 22 million hate to break it to everyone but this is how the corporate world works and to be honest BlackBerry gave up on him he didn't give up on BlackBerry. Just keep that in mind.

Posted via CB10

Well it was his Job to make the BB10 launch successful he failed miserably and should be kicked to the curb.

What happened to those records sales of the z10? Oh wait that warehouse with one billion thrown away in a write down.

I don't understand why everyone is giving him such negative. Criticisms for. You guys got to understand some things on a business level. 1st he was there to present a new vision for blackberry. He did that to the best of his abilities. Under his watch, we have a brand new beautiful OS that we now enjoy today. Yes, he did make a few mistakes, but you can't blame him for the downward direction that blackberry has been at for years in the making now. I also hope you guys didn't think that just because he presented a vision, that millions of past users will again start flocking to blackberry. Things like this take time and smart marketing. With that being said, I think he left with a vision of success. He overseen one of the msot strategic overhauls that blackberry has ever gone through, and it did quite good might I add as far as advancing the blackberry's design and capability. Good Job Thorsten!

Posted via CB10

That is his JOB. He can do his job OK, does not mean it was excellent.

You need to compare CEO with CEO, not compare CEO with housekeepers for performance evaluation. He took 1000 times more compensation than general employees.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

I love the Monday morning QB's and their incredible insight and business savy...BUZZ...oh wait---the fryer alert went off---the "Titans of Industrial Criticism" need to dump out the onion rings and start on a Krusty Burger Deluxe order.

Too bad, everything in the world would have worked out perfectly if NOT for that God forsaken onion ring & Krusty Burger Deluxe order.

Peugeot 505 STI» Peugeot 405 Mi16» Honda s2000»...Chevrolet Corvette C7

Well, given what he was handed, I would bet many would've had difficulty turning things around. Of course, I questioned many of his moves, but like many of you on here, we have no idea what it's like. I have to be honest though, I'm still pissed at him.

Posted via CB10

I don't get the hate towards Thor. He put BlackBerry 10 platform out, increased the adoption of BES10, launched 4 phones (which are great by the way), BBM cross platform and restructured the company.
I am going to miss the guy. He was great and I am not sure one could have performed better in the situation that BlackBerry was. Sure not all is perfect but I very much doubt that would have been possible. Like I said it wasn't a 100m dash but a 4x100m relay. We were on the starting line, we started the race and we just passed on the first relay. Now we need to keep moving.
So, farewell and thanks Thorsten!

Posted via CB10

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Thanks for lying to us about BlackBerry 10 on the PlayBook and for trying to sell an iconic Canadian company for bargain bin prices.

I used my Z10 to create this CrackBerry madness!

I believe his worse failure was in dealing with the issue of marketing and relationships with US carriers. The BB10 phones are doing better in other countries while doing a disaster in the U.S. He needed to focus on either providing direct updates to american consumers or getting the carriers to speed up the release of the updates and getting on board by promoting and advertising the phones. His lack of dealing with the american carriers caused a negative viewpoint in the US stock market and with american consumers

True but what could he have done really? BlackBerry doesn't have the market share to dictate terms to any carriers anymore.

Posted via CB10

@rcab, you couldn't be more wrong IMHO. BlackBerry placed too much importance/reliance on US carriers and spent too much time and money working the 'relationships'. They would have done way better had they spent that time, effort and cash going directly after the customers (at least their existing customer base). They need to create a sizable customer demand before they can overcome the negative support from carrier and retail channel sales force.

Classy way to say goodbye...
As others said, he ain't perfect, no one is...blaming him for everything that went wrong is unfair.
The past cannot be changed, all we can do is learn from it. Hopefully John Chen will be up to the challenge and get BlackBerry back where it belongs.

...forever BlackBerry...

Thank you herr heins for bringing the hope of BB10 to the masses.
And for bringing Z30 on the table. Outstanding device. Hope you will have a better endeavour on your next adventure.

TH did what he was hired to do, and now he has 22 million reasons to ride off into the sunset.

I wonder if the Canadian Gov't will revoke his Canadian Citizenship?

(and before anyone calls "troll", I'm allowed to have an opinion and post it on a public forum)

Given a lot of the comments here, this is far from trolling. :talk-hand: Besides, we all have our opinions and so long as we're not bashing other posters, we all have a right to them. So keep posting, CJH!

Thanks Thorsten, he accomplished a lot, considering what he inherited. Classy farewell from a classy, and passionate, guy.

Posted via CB10

Good bye and good riddance. One less old dog left to drive the company down more. Time for new blood new thinking.

Say what you will about T.H., he brought in BB10 to BlackBerry kicking and screaming at a time when the company needed a new platform whether they liked it or not. In time, we'll begin to appreciate he made the next level possible.

Sent from my BlackBerry Z30

Regarding the "golden parachute", yes he no doubt got some cash but the $22 million being bandied about was based upon stock options, many of which aren't even vested, meaning they are worthless. If any of you think Mr. H left by the back door with $22 million in cash or a cheque, well think again. He will no doubt do OK but he won't exactly be able to walk down the street to another CEO job.

Heins was focused on hardware, which isn't surprising given his Siemens background. Balsillie wanted to transition into a software/services company a while ago and ditched the board when it wasn't happening fast enough. Though not ready to abandon hardware, the board likely felt BBRY was bloated and needed to reduce operational expenses. So, they promoted Heins, who was known for cost-cutting, but still had a hardware-centric mentality.

When it presented its buyout-turned-debt-investment proposal to the board, Fairfax likely presented a business proposal/turnaround strategy as well--a strategy in stark opposition to the Heins' vision. Just look at the language used by Chen: it's not a coincidence that he mentions software a dozen times. While there's always a risk, Watsa wanted insurance that the people at the helm would unilaterally pursue the turnaround strategy he presented. So, the Fairfax investment likely was contingent on installing Chen as CEO given his software background and turnaround experience.

Even if ultimately they are for the good of the company, leadership changes often are bittersweet. I'm sure Thor truly believed in what he was doing and likely had his supporters around the organization. While maybe the real story behind Thor's exist is a little more sordid, it's also possible that he and Watsa simply agreed to disagree on the vision for the company and decided on a mutual separation.

Chen did say in the crackberry interview that blackberry is a hardware focused company did he not?

Posted via CB10

He rhetorically asked what BlackBerry would be without the hardware and said it's silly when people mention getting out of the handset business given that hardware is how it makes its money and interacts with customers. And that's exactly what he should have said. When Microsoft announced the Surface and said it was becoming a devices and services company, did people say, "Oh, well there goes Office."

People need to break this mutually exclusive logic. The mobiles space looks far different from what it did in 5 years ago. The BlackBerry organization of that time no longer is appropriate in this new market landscape. So, BlackBerry is looking at what it does well, where there are needs, and trying carve out its new place in the market. This means software will play a bigger, more important role in the company's product direction and revenue contribution. That doesn't mean it will stop selling hardware--just that the company will be less reliant on hardware for growth and bookings down the road.

I couldn't agree more!! BB has a lot to do in the coming months..(years). The energies placed in the software side is critical for success.

"Together, we have accomplished a great deal over the past six years"

Wtf - is he being sarcastic? In the past six years ML&JB and then him ran the company into the ground???

Thorston is shameless. He told people he promise BlackBerry will be number 1 in mobile computing soon in 2012.

Posted via CB10 with Q10.

Sorry, but no-where did he promise that BB would be number 1. He said that the new era was mobile computing and that BB had a 'good shot' at the number 3 spot for mobile.

I have never worked for BlackBerry - just followed their news and use their products. I do have friends who still work for BB. I hope they stay.

He is the man who has changed RIM into BlackBerry. Not only changed the company name but also changed the direction & the atmosphere of the company to be more vibrant to everyone.

He is also the man who dared to challenge himself by stepping up to take the CEO position when the company was in a turmoil and he delivered what he has promised: BlackBerry 10 portfolio. What's so negative about him? I really can't see a thing. He has promised, he has delivered. It's now upon his team members who might have got it wrong. Come on, no one can run the company alone by himself though..

Mr. Heins, no matter what people might say about you but from day 1 you took the step up, I really admire you. You are the THOR of BBRY and you will always be. Whether you realise it or not, there would never be BB10 without your hands on enthusiasm even though you were just here for a short period of time.

I wish you all the best and thanks for affirming you will be with us as the life-long BlackBerry supporter.

Chen Xian Sheng, let's ROCK n ROLL this!!! #keepmoving!

Though not perfect, I think he did what needed to be done. BlackBerry had to get to a new place, a new mind set, that would allow them to move forward under new leadership.

I don't like that he has to leave, but that was evident and necessary, even before he took the job.

I do wish him the best.

Posted via CB10

Quite the classy farewell, it's a shame he won't stay on as part of the hardware team or something (not necessary as the COO). Yes, I remember (and own) a Storm device. But anyway...

I don't know how much confidence this gives to the employees, but I'm happy he took the time to thank them and encourage them to continue working as usual. Hopefully it all works out for BlackBerry, and Mr. Heins. Farewell.

Very true statement and feel sad that Heins is going. I think what was envisaged for BlackBerry with BB10 did not happen as a lot of ground was lost to Iphone and Android.

Posted via CB10

Yeah whatever...don't let the door hit you in the A$$ on the way out.

BlackBerry Z...my weapon of choice.

it's great that everyone thinks he's a great guy, and that was a nice message that he wrote, but the reality is that this is business, and he walked away with a pile of cash. "Doing your best" just doesn't cut it. You need to be competent to do the job. He wasn't the guy. You can blame Jim and Mike all you want, but maybe things would have been different if they brought Mr Chen on instead of TH.

I always thought Mr. Heins was a class act. He simply didn't have enough time to right the ship. 11 months...really? What exactly did "they" expect him to accomplish in 11 month? The ship was already sinking.
Could he have done more? Sure! Should he have be given ample time to realize his vision for the brand? ABSOLUTELY!
Mr. Chen seem like a class act too and I hope he is given enough TIME to right this ship before the crackberry nation starts to call for his head and throw him under the bus.
He too has a vision for blackberry. He has an awesome track record for saving businesses and the passion to bring us back from oblivion. Let's give him a chance. At least more than what Mr. Heins was given.

It's easy to be the armchair CEO and make fantasy decisions based on what you think is going on with no apparent connection to reality. We will likely never know the full and true reality he had to work with. Therefore to second guess him is theoretical at best. Was he a perfect CEO, no but then who is? Could he have been better? Perhaps, but who would you have chosen in his place given the situation at the time? I think he did a good job under the circumstances and I would not have wanted to have stepped into the situation he faced.

Thor was at least pragmatic about things and committed to getting out a quality product under a tight timeline.

Good on you and best wishes.

Posted via CB10

glad he is gone,shareholders(like me) lost plenty of money because of him
my friends laughed me out with my Z10 and my shares!!!!thx thorsten

Goodbye, Thorsten, and thanks for all your hard work.
Your accessibility and rallying of the troops was greatly appreciated and needed during a very difficult period in BlackBerry history.
Best of everything is the future!


Posted via CB10

All the layoffs he did payed for his severance package, lmao

BlackBerry for leaders, not followers.

I love it when people complain about CEO compensation when they are in office and about their exit compensation when they are fired or resign. Yet the same people don't complain about Hollywood actors compensation for a single movie;
or NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA players compensation for what they do playing a game and most of the latter can hardly speak or piece together a cogent piece of prose. SMH

Posted via CB10

That's a totally different ball game. There's big money being made in those industries compared to BlackBerry's recent performance in its industry.

Not a different ball game. I live in the US and people always complain about the greedy capitialist (and many are the ones who made their fortunes off of capitalism) yet the rank and file work there 40 hours and go home and don't give a rats arse about anything other than their paycheck being on time.

I know, those people work for me and I never see them at the office at night or on Saturdays or, God forbid, Sundays.

Posted via CB10

An actor or pro athlete doesn't hand out 4500 pink slips while taking delivery on a $25 million luxury private jet. There is a difference.

I think Thor did great job, internally. Cutting costs, BB10 and such. It was external where he failed, the most important job at BB.......CMO, this is where the BOD and Thor failed. Frank Boulbin? Really? You place the future of growth in BB10 with this guy? This is where poor ole Thor really failed. Bummer.

I think the only thing most of us are disappointed in is the marketing strategy. I'm not sure how much control he had over the marketing. He made the company lean, but maybe didn't do enough to work with providers and developers.

The CMO needs to go!!!!!!! I think everyone can agree on that.


The new CEO and the new BOD, that's who. Reading the Q&A with the new CEO, he seems to understand where BBRY's weaknesses R. And he plans on rectifying them all.

Ohhhh poor Heins got only 20 million. Don't let the door hit you in butt on the way to the soup kitchen. Good riddance greedy prick. They need to ship this guy back to Germany as he's an embarasment to Canada.

At the very least he is leaving them with a great product capable of taking on apple and android. Thank you Thorsten

Good luck in the future Thor. I didn't envy your job the last few years and believe you gave it all you could. I wish you well.

Good luck to Mr. Chen as well as he moves forward into this postion.

He launched BB10, did the impossible and made it possible, despite the bashing and the nonsense Doom and Gloom rumours and opinions that have plagued BBRY before, during and after the BB10 launch.

But I think it was a great idea for Thor to step down. BBRY is now set to regain its glory. BB10 and its devices are a testament of being the BEST in hardware quality and all time BEST mobile platform ever in existence.

He did what was needed. He took over in a desperate time. He made the right decisions to get us bb10. made the tough cuts needed to have BlackBerry in a decent financial situation should plan A fail. Witch it did. But BlackBerry still has money in the bank for the next person (CEO) to try to get traction. Thank you MR. Thorsten Heins for getting me BlackBerry 10. Thank you for doing your best to keep BlackBerry, the company I love alive in a crazy competitive time when it seems the world was against us. BlackBerry has over 2 billion in the bank, I have bb10 in my hands, and blackberry can fight for another day Thank you once again Mr. Heins.

Posted via CB10

He messed some things up, but it wasn't entirely his fault. BB is doing what it needs to do to come back and this is one of them.

Sent from my sexy white hot Z10 in Sin City ;-)

This is true. He had no help from a near completely inept Chief Marketing Officer (who somehow still has his job)

No idea how long that will be but there is NO WAY Watsa and Chen could possibly keep Boulben given that marketing imho was one of the reasons for BB10's lack of penetration into the US and other large markets. No-one in the general public even knew that BlackBerry had new devices. And if they did, carrier staff were ridiculing the company and pushing people away from the new devices (from personal experience as well as reports of others). I personally was told that BlackBerry was going bankrupt back in the summer of 2012 and it only got worse since. I'd get incredulous looks from most carrier staff when I inquired and they were poorly-trained on the new devices. Staff need an incentive to push new devices, not just the 'easy-sellers' like iPhones. Give them concrete incentives and more commission.

Guess BlackBerry couldn't just sack him for nothing based on poor performance?

Why is this diff from actual/real ppl job?

Posted Via CB10 with BlackBerry Q10 2AEFCF1A

It's called a contract. And all Executives have termination provisions in their employment agreements. And they probably have clauses for things like moral turpitude.

I am not arguing whether or not TH did a good job, as I was not privy to all the details taking place internally at BB.

But, I will submit whoever the new CEO for BlackBerry is, will have a sweetheart deal, inventive laden for sure, but an iron clad exit agreement. That is the only way you can attract talent at that level.

Posted via CB10

Yes, but shouldn't the contract also has termination clause for poor performance?

Even if th deserve severance pack, 15-22m is a ridiculous amount.

Ppl talk about bb10.
Lets not forget that it was already on pipeline when th was appointed.

Was years late & shouldn't he also get blamed for very poor marketing..

So much for BlackBerry Thor!

Posted Via CB10 with BlackBerry Q10 2AEFCF1A

Listen, we all knew it was going to be difficult. It sucks he could not accomplish the task of turning around the company.

Like they said, he's a operations guy. We need someone that is technology guru to have the vision for BlackBerry's future.

This Chen guy is a technology person and it seems he has the vision too. So let's watch and see where this takes us.

Posted via CB10

Actually, they need a marketing-oriented leader. They've already had a tech person who couldn't succeed though he was an innovator, then an operations guy who couldn't succeed though he was a visionary.

I did appreciate his initial enthusiasm for BB10 and enjoyed his media appearances. Not sure how he lost steam after that with the poor roll out and lack of marketing.

Curve 8320, Bold 9780, Bold 9900, PB 64gb, Z10

Thank you Mr. Heins for all the things, seen and unseen, that you did to move BlackBerry down the road.

In my hands I have the evidence of the successful results; hardware and software, of the teams that you led.

Understanding the types of challenges that you faced, I appreciate the professionalism of your approach. Thank you.

Posted via CB10

He did everything he could. By the time he became CEO, BlackBerry was doomed.

Let's see what the next CEO will do.

So far I don't see any possibilities except a takeover by a bigger, stronger company.

Posted via CB10

Thorsten was given a very hard position within BlackBerry. He carried on to deliver BB10. I respect him and wish him the best. Let’s keep on with rebuilding BlackBerry and Keep Moving being Bold.

Posted via CB10

All BS from Thor. He can't say he won't be BlackBerry fans after receiving 22 million!
But most likely this will change in a week, BlackBerry will be ditched and smacked by Thor as he is leaving for Samsung LOL

LoL.. he'll be lucky if any of those chinese company/brand pick him up..

Posted Via CB10 with BlackBerry Q10 2AEFCF1A

Bb10 on a playbook is the dumbest idea. I love my own playbook and my q10 but there's no way a playbook resources could have ran even a retarded dumb down version of bb10

Posted via CB10

Really? Did you have a beta? Just exactly how do you know this? Be specific.

Posted via CB10

I like Thor and always will. He was handed a powder keg with a short fuse. He did the best he could. His biggest mistake was hiring that shitstain Boulben. Firing that waste of sperm should have been the first thing they did!

Posted via CB10

I don't know if he is reading these posts or not, but turning around BlackBerry is a difficult task. Some say impossible. I have no ill will against Heins, well except for not putting bb10 on my playbook!!!!!

Posted via CB10

Elitist Bureaucrats who thank the public for destroying one of the greatest companies. A little too late, couldn't this be done before loosing billion s.Upper middle management should be sent home as well, especially the line manager who's responsible foor blackberry updates giving the carriers the upper hand shish!?!

Posted via CB10

Amazing how many people are slagging the guy. Does anyone here really think that he wanted to see BlackBerry fail just so he could pocket the severance? He stood to gain A LOT more money had BlackBerry turned around on his watch. The other thing to remember is that Thor wasn't your average working class layman before taking over BlackBerry. He was already wealthy - the $22 million he's getting is pretty standard fare for CEOs in the private sector who go through something like this. His reputation has taken quite the hit from this. Whether or not he deserves the money is irrelevant - what's relevant is that this type of practice for CEOs is much more common than you would think.

He likely put in long hours, spent a lot of time away from his family and worked his ass off to try and make this company succeed - just like everyone else in the company has done and will continue to do.

I respect Thor for the way he carried himself throughout his tenure. It was a lot of pressure to be under, and he was calm, cool and collected throughout it all.

Farewell, Mr. Heins and good luck to you in your future endeavours, whatever they happen to be. Also, good luck to Mr. Chen. It's not going to be an easy road ahead, but I have faith you will be successful in your quest to right the ship.


Posted from my brain to your screen via CBQ10

He did well as to playing defensively, though with a new product, in my opinion, you need to play offensively.

He did well as to downsizing the company to fit sales, budget, market share, etc. But failed to play aggressively to sell BlackBerry 10. I always say Marketing is everything and I believe 80% effort to marketing, 10% & 10% to operations and production or similar would have rendered another story.

You are now in my Bingo Book

It's a classy letter from a gentleman who seems to me to be very genuine. He seems a good person.

He just isn't what BlackBerry needs right now. I'm confident he'll make a great assets wherever he goes.

Thanks Thor.

Posted via CB10

I know some people want to blame Thor for the failure that BB10 is but at the very end of the day it goes down to the app developers not bringing their apps to BB10. How can BlackBerry truly market BB10 in the US when it doesn't even have simple native banking apps??? We can accept not having Netflix and instagram but we shouldn't have to use the browser just to check a simple checking account balance.

Even with a new ceo if the everyday apps don't come BlackBerry will still remain in the same position it's in right now.

Posted via CB10

I think you neglect the experiences of many who relay that many don't even know blackberry has new products out. That's like sales101. People have to know there is a product before they even consider buying. What it has or does and eco system etc would be next on checklist. A few still bought without ecosystem. Some of those did so despite no eco system. I left android after reading an article or two I happened to come across. Hadn't seen a single advertisement up to that point. Lost some app functionality but on balance happier for it.

Don Diego loves and endorses the Zed.