BlackBerry completes three-year restructure plan

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Workforce reduced by 60 per cent to 7,000 staff since 2011 as CEO Chen claims it is on course to being cash positive by the end of the current financial year 

BlackBerry has completed a restructuring programme that has seen it reduce staff numbers by 60 per cent in the past three years.

Headcount stood at a peak of 17,500 in 2011 but has now been slimmed down to 7,000 as the company looks to dramatically reduce costs.

In an internal memo sent to employees, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen (pictured) said the Canadian manufacturer would be adding to headcount, “beginning in modest numbers,” and is confident it can meet its goal of being cash positive by the end of the current financial year.

He also noted that BlackBerry is now in a position to make strategic acquisitions but stressed there was “no margin for error to complete BlackBerry’s turnaround to success.”

Chen added: “We have completed the restructuring notification process, and the workforce reduction that began three years ago is now behind us.

“More importantly, barring any unexpected downturns in the market, we will be adding headcount in certain areas such as product development, sales and customer service, beginning in modest numbers.”

Since replacing Thorsten Heins as the company’s CEO last November, Chen has taken a number of steps in an attempt to reduce costs.

These include a five-year deal with Foxconn last December to develop and manufacturer handsets for emerging markets, and the sale of real estate in Ontario, Canada in May to Spear Street Capital for $278 million, including the sale of three million square feet of land.

Last month it announced it was acquiring German-based voice and data encryption specialists Secusmart.

BlackBerry is also scheduled to unveil two new smartphones in the coming weeks. The Passport is due to launch next month, while the Classic will be available in November.

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