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BlackBerry appoints enterprise-focused exec as COO

Marty Beard will start as chief operating officer immediately and will be responsible for "cross-functional organizations" at the company.


BlackBerry's renewed enterprise push has prompted the company to hire a new chief operating officer with an entire career of corporate focus.

BlackBerry announced Monday it has appointed Marty Beard as chief operating officer, effective immediately. Beard will oversee marketing, application development, customer care, and quality -- all of which BlackBerry describes as "cross-functional organizations." He will also be charged with overseeing "best practices and processes" for the company.

BlackBerry has been under intense pressure since a series of sales failures over the last several years left it in the dust of Android and iOS devices. At one point, BlackBerry CEO John Chen put his company's chances of surviving at 50 percent, saying that the sheer number of issues at the company were enough to bring down smaller firms. Earlier this year, however, Chen said BlackBerry's chances of survival are up to 80 percent.

A key reason for Chen's sudden change of heart is his company's renewed focus on enterprise. While Blackberry had been trying to appeal to both consumers and corporate customers, Chen now sees chasing consumers as a mistake. He has repositioned BlackBerry to focus on keeping its enterprise customers and attracting new corporate users.

The appointment of Beard is undoubtedly a step in that direction. Prior to joining BlackBerry, Beard was CEO at customer service cloud app provider LiveOps. He has also been president of Sybase's mobile messaging and commerce unit and has worked at Oracle.

Blackberry's previous COO, Kristian Tear, left in November.