It’s only been about a year since he started his tenure and his company is still losing money, but BlackBerry CEO John Chen thinks he’s already implemented a turnaround strategy that economics students will be reading about for decades. In an article posted on LinkedIn, Chen offers some “keys to executing a turnaround the right way” that draw on his year of experience as BlackBerry’s chief executive.
“When I took on the role of BlackBerry CEO one year ago, we were facing tremendous challenges as a company,” Chen writes. “The markets for devices and services had been changing dramatically for the past few years, and our positions in them had deteriorated. Addressing these realities required us to focus on one thing: innovation. Innovation is what the world demands of technology companies like BlackBerry. Building a stable platform for us to be able to focus on innovation again has been the foundation of our turnaround.”
It’s definitely true that BlackBerry is in a much better place than it was a year ago, although it could be argued that short of declaring bankruptcy, it would be hard for things to have been much worse. After all, the company had just tried and failed to put itself up for sale and had ousted former CEO Thorsten Heins.
That said, Chen certainly has helped the company stand on firmer ground by aggressively cutting costs and smartly refocussing BlackBerry’s mission solely on business customers who want devices that act (as the saying goes) as “tools not toys.” At this rate, Chen is still projecting the company will return to profitability next year, so it looks like the next few quarters will be crucial in determining whether the company’s turnaround has real legs.
To read Chen’s full essay on implementing turnarounds, click the source link below.