Industry pays homage to RIM party stabbing victim

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RIM employee Philip Sherriff died after being attacked at star-studded London event 

Tributes have poured in from across the industry for Philip Sherriff, the Research In Motion (RIM) employee who was stabbed at a BlackBerry party event in the early hours of April 4 and died four days later in hospital.

Mr Sherriff, 37, a father-of-two from Preston, Lancashire, was attacked with a bottle at Pulse nightclub in Southwark, London, shortly after a performance by Brit Award-winner Jessie J. A post-mortem carried out on April 9 confirmed he died from a single stab wound to the neck.

The event had been organised by BlackBerry to celebrate its instant messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). Mr Sherriff had been invited to the party along with a host of celebrities, BlackBerry competition winners and journalists.

Mr Sherriff only joined RIM in March as channel sales manager for O2 telesales. He started his career in the telecoms industry in May 2002, joining O2 as a channel sales development executive before joining Three as a dealer account manager in November 2007. After two years in the role, he became a business development manager for the operator before joining RIM.

Tributes

A statement from RIM read: “We are deeply saddened to hear our colleague has died as a result of the attack on Tuesday, April 3. Our thoughts are with his family and those close to him and we ask for the respect of their privacy at this difficult time.”

In a joint statement from Three, sales director Amanda Lambert, head of prepay trading and acquisition Rachel Bowles, head of telesales Gary Lacey and head of performance and planning for telesales Kerry Howells praised Mr Sherriff’s personality, sense of humour and his achievements while working for the operator.

“Phil was universally known as the nicest man anyone could ever meet. He always had a smile on his face and would instantly light up the room when he entered. Meetings were rarely as fun and productive as one at which Phil was present.

“Working in a field-based role, he thrived on meeting people and was the life and soul of team monthly meetings. His stories of “what made me smile” were something colleagues say they especially enjoyed and remembered.

“Phil had amazing people skills and was renowned for managing some very tough conversations with a smile. His challenge over the past 12 months at Three was to improve the quality and profitability of the approved promoter channel – a task that saw Phil deliver significant improvements while maintaining the professionalism, respect and friendship of his business partners – many of whom have passed on sincere messages of condolence.

“His former colleagues had the pleasure of working with Phil for over four years at Three. He is described by all as incredibly talented and someone who was keen to progress his career. More importantly, he was a committed and brilliant husband and father – something that shone through in his personality.

“It was with a great deal of disappointment that because of limited location independent-based opportunities here, Phil reluctantly looked for progression outside of the Three family. He left at the end of February 2012 to take up a new role with RIM.

“Phil leaves behind a wife and two beautiful children, and the thoughts of everyone at Three are with them at this most difficult of times.

“He made hundreds of friends during his time at Three, and has left a lasting and incredibly positive impact on all those who had the pleasure of knowing him. He will be sadly missed.”

Everything Everywhere chief sales officer Marc Allera, who was Three sales and marketing director and chief commercial officer during Mr Sherriff’s time at the operator, said: “Phil will be remembered extremely fondly as a friend, a family man and a great professional.

“He made a significant contribution to the growth of Three in the years that he was there and I know that everyone who worked closely with him will be missing him very much.”

Airtime distributor HSC also paid tribute to Mr Sherriff. HSC connects Three airtime and a number of its employees worked closely with him.

HSC commercial manager Tracy Miles said: “We worked with Phil really closely on a couple of accounts when he worked for Three. He was always incredibly supportive, helpful and honest. He was a very genuine person and always full of fun. We were devastated to hear about what happened to him and our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Regional manager for the north Lesley Bray added: “I was deeply saddened to learn of Phil’s death. Phil and I worked quite closely on a number of accounts while he was employed with Three. Phil was very supportive and was regarded with the greatest respect and admiration. My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”

GK Telecom network director Debbie Young and dealer account manager Carole Shaw praised Mr Sherriff’s professionalism and dedication to his family.

“Hearing about Phil’s death was very hard, especially in such circumstances. Carole, in particular, used to work very closely with Phil on several large accounts while he was a dealer manager with Three. He was a true professional and an asset to both the business partner and Three.

“Phil would also talk about his family with such love and passion, it was clear he thought the world of them. Our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.”

Online retailer Buymobilephones. net makes Three airtime connections. Managing director Paul Sisson said: “I knew Phil a few years ago when he was our dealer manager from Three. Trading was difficult with Three at the time but Phil worked hard and got our relationship back up and running. He was always professional. We have a lot to thank him for.”

Jonathon Turner was managing director of Blackpool-based call centre The Mobile Phone Company before it went into liquidation in September 2010. The firm employed 120 people and made consumer and B2B connections on behalf of Three and Orange. Mr Sherriff was the company’s account manager for Three.

Turner said: “Phil was one of the good guys. He was a thoroughly decent human being who never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was hard-working, honest and very good at what he did.

“He helped us immeasurably through some difficult times, always doing anything and everything he could for us, whenever possible. He was the kind of person you would want on your side. I remained in contact with Phil following our closure and spoke to him regularly. He will be sorely missed.”

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