BlackBerry to Lay Off 200 Employees in Canada and the US

by Istvan Fekete on February 8, 2016

blackberry-logoBlackBerry will lay off 200 employees from its Waterloo headquarters and a manufacturing facility based in Florida, US. The cuts are part of the company’s turnaround plan plotted by CEO John Chen.

The layoff is smaller than initially reported by Canadiantech blog MobileSyrup, whose sources had talked about the possibility of a major, 1000 job cut, which would have represented roughly 35% of BlackBerry’s estimated workforce.

Instead, BlackBerry issued two statements, the first denying the above media report and describing the affected as a “small number of employees”, and the second containing the “magic number” of approximately 200 employees being laid off.

“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,” the company statement reads. This means finding new ways to enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities, while driving toward sustainable profitability across all parts of our business. As a result, approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida. It also means that BlackBerry is actively recruiting in those areas of our business that will drive growth.”

Among those leaving the company is the creative mind behind BlackBerry Messenger, Gary Klassen, who was a director of architecture and innovation. His departure was first announced on Facebook by his wife: “My Husband has walked out of BlackBerry for the last time! Gary, you’ve been a wonderful example of integrity, faithfulness, and patience working there, but I’m glad you’re out.”

As you may recall, BlackBerry has recently made several strategic acquisitions as the CEO shifts the company’s focus from hardware to software. In recent years BlackBerry has acquired Good Technology, AtHoc, and WatchDox, all of which widen the company’s mobile software offerings.

During the fourth-quarter earnings call, Chen voiced his position on the smartphone business segment: His goal is to get devices to break even, but if he doesn’t succeed, he will refrain from investing in that arm of the company.

At its peak, BlackBerry had 11,000 employees in the Waterloo region alone. Fast forward to 2014, and it had close to 2,700 employees.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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