BlackBerry Hires Cisco Exec For More Stability

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 14, 2015


BlackBerry named industry veteran and former Cisco executive Carl Wiese as head of global sales. The appointment that comes at a critical juncture for the smartphone pioneer which is striving to accelerate top-line growth in order for its turnaround efforts to succeed.

At BlackBerry, Wiese replaces John Sims, who had been with the company for 18 months. Wiese worked with Cisco Systems for the past 12 years, first heading advanced technology sales and later its collaboration-product sales efforts. The teams focus on areas such as security and web conferencing, areas that BlackBerry is trying to expand within.

Wiese had also worked with Apple, Avaya, Lucent and Texas Instruments, prior to Cisco and at BlackBerry, he will be responsible for driving its go-to-market strategy and global sales efforts, a Reuters report says.

“Carl has extensive experience in enterprise software and emerging technology solutions, which will be instrumental as BlackBerry moves toward stabilizing revenue,” BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said in a statement.

BlackBerry has been struggling to cope with its traditional service fee structure and falling revenue from smartphone sales. Only recently, the Ontario-based organization posted weaker-than-expected sales growth from its software business in the first quarter. Investors were also dissapointed as shares in BlackBerry tumbled to a 13-month low on the Nasdaq last week.

Meanwhile, Chen has set a software revenue target of $500 million for the current fiscal year. He has built his turnaround plan around a software growth strategy, hoping to garner sales from areas like Cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT). He also hinted that some of that growth is set to come from acquisitions.

BlackBerry is also widely expected to debut a new Android-based smartphone this year in an attempt to boost its hardware sales.

Earlier, the company planned a $100 million target for revenue from its BlackBerry Messenger service, but backed away as analysts have long been skeptical about the viability of BlackBerry’s software revenue targets.

But Chen is determined. At a recent analyst conference he claimed, if targets are not met, he would still be around next year, though he was not sure about his team members. Therefore its still not known whether Sims’ departure has something to do with to weaker-than-expected software revenue growth, said the agency.

Wiese will report to Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen, it said. “I am pleased to welcome Carl – a veteran sales leader – to BlackBerry to be the head of our global sales organization,” said Chen

“We are deeply committed to working with our customers to bring them the most innovative and secure solutions, and Carl will be central to that effort,” he said.