A new name was thrown into BlackBerry’s management today. John S. Chen was appointed executive chairman of the board and interim CEO as of today. That is a huge move after Thorsten Heins turned out to be just capable of cost cutting and not reviving the brand. This has many of us wondering who is John S. Chen?
John S. Chen is 58 years old this year and was chairman, chief executive officer and president of Sybase, an independent software vendor specializing in data management, analytics, and mobility technology until January 2013. Mr. Chen currently serves as a Senior Advisor of Silver Lake, Menlo Park, California (a private investment firm).
Chen was elected a director of the Walt Disney Company in 2004 and of Wells Fargo & Company in 2006. He has also served on the board of the CIT Group Inc., and as a member of the New York Stock Exchange’s listing advisory committee, as well as the boards of several high-tech start-ups, including Beyond.com, Niku Corporation, Wafer Technology and Turbolinux US.
He is also a trustee Caltech and the Brookings Institution, national trustee of The First Tee, governor of the San Francisco Symphony, past chairman (2009–2011) and longtime member of the Committee of 100 and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
November 4th – 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.
Chen holds an honorary professorship from Shanghai University, and honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, City University of Hong Kong, andHong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Mr. Chen is actively involved in international relations. He has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations. U.S. President George W. Bush appointed Chen to serve on the President’s Export Council in 2005. In 2006, he was appointed co-chair of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee.
Additionally, Mr. Chen chaired the U.S.-China Policy Advisory Roundtable for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
In recognition of his leadership in building U.S.-Asia relations, Mr. Chen has received awards from the US-Asia Institute (2009), the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, and the California-Asia Business Council (2007). The U.S.-Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation has recognized Chen for his corporate board work.