Tag Archives: Thorsten Heins

BlackBerry Employees gets Farewell Letter from Thorsten Heins

BlackBerry Employees gets Farewell Letter from Thorsten Heins

As BlackBerry goes thru a transition where we saw Thorsten Heins stepping down as interim CEO John Chen takes his place. We are sure that BlackBerry will emerge stronger and better. 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.

Thorsten Heins Letter:-

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.

Sincerely,

Thorsten

BlackBerry Says Is Abandoning Sale Process, CEO Steps Down, BlackBerry Receives Investment of U.S. $1 Billion from Fairfax Financial and Other Institutional Investors

BlackBerry Says Is Abandoning Sale Process, CEO Steps Down

BlackBerry has announced today that they have entered into a $1-billion investment agreement with Fairfax Financial and other investors. BlackBerry has concluded their review of strategic alternatives and will also be making changes to the board. John S. Chen will be appointed Executive Chair and Interim CEO while Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will be appointed Lead Director. The Current BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins will step down as CEO at closing today.

Press Release

John S. Chen to be Appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and Interim CEO; Prem Watsa to be Appointed Lead Director

Company Concludes Review of Strategic Alternatives and Announces Changes to Board and Leadership Team

WATERLOO, ONTARIO and TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – November 04, 2013) – BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY)(TSX: BB), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced that it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (“Fairfax”) and other institutional investors (collectively, the “Purchasers”) will invest in BlackBerry through a U.S. $1 billion private placement of convertible debentures. Fairfax has agreed to acquire U.S. $250 million principal amount of the Debentures. The transaction is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.

Under the terms of the transaction, the Purchasers will subscribe for U.S. $1 billion aggregate principal amount of 6% unsecured subordinated convertible debentures (the “Debentures”) convertible into common shares of BlackBerry at a price of U.S. $10.00 per common share (the “Transaction”), a 28.7% premium to the closing price of BlackBerry common shares on November 1, 2013. The Debentures have a term of seven years. Based on the number of common shares currently outstanding, if all of the U.S. $1 billion of Debentures were converted, the common shares issued upon conversion would represent approximately 16% of the common shares outstanding after giving effect to the conversion.

Upon the closing of the transaction, John S. Chen will be appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and, in that role, will be responsible for the strategic direction, strategic relationships and organizational goals of BlackBerry. Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed Lead Director and Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee and Thorsten Heins and David Kerr intend to resign from the Board at closing.

In addition, Mr. Heins will step down as Chief Executive Officer at closing and Mr. Chen will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer pending completion of a search for a new Chief Executive Officer.

Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the review of strategic alternatives previously announced on August 12, 2013.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry’s Board. “The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.”

Ms. Stymiest added, “I am also pleased that John Chen, a distinguished and proven leader in the technology industry, has agreed to serve as BlackBerry’s Executive Chairman. I look forward to continuing to serve BlackBerry as a member of its Board of Directors and chair of the Board’s Audit and Risk Management Committee. On behalf of the Board, I would also like to thank Thorsten for his service to BlackBerry over the past six years. Under his leadership, BlackBerry established a more efficient cost structure, developed new products, saw the adoption of BES 10 and delivered the BlackBerry 10 platform. These are all significant accomplishments. We are grateful for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

“Fairfax is a long-time supporter, investor and partner to BlackBerry and, with this investment, reinforces its deep commitment to the future success of this company,” said Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax. “I look forward to rejoining the BlackBerry Board and to working with the other directors and management team, under John Chen’s leadership, to shape the next stage of BlackBerry’s strategy and growth.”

“I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry,” said Mr. Chen. “BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential – but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success. I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees.”

The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Pursuant to the Transaction agreement, the investors have an option to purchase up to an additional U.S. $250 million principal amount of Debentures within 30 days following closing. If an additional U.S. $250 million of Debentures is issued and all U.S. $1.25 billion of Debentures were converted, the common shares issued upon conversion would represent approximately 19.2% of the common shares after giving effect to the conversion, based on the number of common shares currently outstanding.