The once iconic Canadian manufacturer BlackBerry was in a free fall over the past couple of years. Its market share evaporated, stock plummeted and new devices flopped in the market. As a result the company was unable to keep all of its workforce which at its peak in 2011 boasted more than 17,500 employees. A rather painful restructuring process began and over three years roughly 60 percent of the workforce was laid off. Now though the company is back on growth footing under the leadership of CEO John Chen and looks to add headcount in certain areas, albeit in “modest numbers.”
Reuters got its hands on an internal memo in which Chen thanked employees for sticking with the company during this process. The CEO said that BlackBerry’s workforce reduction is now behind it and that it will starting bringing on new talent in specific areas like sales, customer service and product development.
Chen was brought onboard about eight months ago when BlackBerry’s board of directors decided against selling the company. Instead they pushed out former CEO Thorsten Heins and handed the reins to Chen, who is a well-regarded turnaround artist in the industry. Chen moved quickly to stabilize the company and under him BlackBerry even managed to post a surprise profit in the previous quarter.
Chen says in the memo that BlackBerry is on its way to recovery now and he is confident that it will achieve the aim of being cash flow positive by the end of this fiscal year. Though he did mention that there’s no “margin for error to complete BlackBerry’s turnaround to success.” The company still has a long way to go in order to make its hardware business truly successful, and some believe that the Passport and the Classic just might help in achieving that goal.