BlackBerry CEO Chen to retire, director Lynch to hold interim charge


FILE PHOTO: Blackberry CEO John Chen takes part in an event at the BlackBerry QNX headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

(Reuters) -BlackBerry's CEO John Chen will retire at the end of the week after a decade at the helm of the Canadian technology firm where he oversaw its pivot from a hardware and devices company to one that focuses on enterprise software.

The company on Monday named Richard Lynch, a director on BlackBerry's board, as interim CEO as it scouts for a permanent replacement.

Chen will also relinquish responsibilities as board chair and will be succeeded to the position by Lynch.

U.S.-listed shares of the company ended 6.5% higher, after the Global and Mail reported Chen's departure in late afternoon trading hours.

Chen, 68, joined BlackBerry in November 2013.

Once known for its full-keyboard business phones, BlackBerry saw its business suffer after the launch of Apple's iPhone in 2007 and the rapid adoption of Android-powered smartphones around that time.

It had since moved to focus on cybersecurity, in-car software and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Earlier this month, the company said it would separate the IoT and cybersecurity units and target a subsidiary initial public offering for the IoT business next fiscal year.

Last year, it pulled the plug on its smartphones business and has since been trying to sell its legacy patents related to its mobile devices.

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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