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BlackBerry boss John Chen: We're FINISHED (with the job cuts)

Now things are looking rosy, says chief exec – new leak

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BlackBerry has finished its long and painful restructuring process – and is even considering adding new employees.

That's according to a leaked staff memo apparently sent by BlackBerry chief exec John Chen. In the file, he wrote that the process of laying off workers, which started three years ago, has now come to an end: "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," he added in the missive seen by Reuters.

The biz mobile firm cut great swathes out of its staff in the last three years as it failed to come up with a new strategy in the wake of vigorous competition from Android and Apple in the smartphone sector. The company was reported to have taken an axe to around 6,000 workers in 2012, when it had 16,500 employees on the books.

Chen joined the firm eight months ago, partially on the strength of his reputation as a turnaround artist after his stint at Sybase in the late '90s, and he has moved to narrow BlackBerry’s niche to large corporations and government agencies that want highly secure mobile communications.

The BlackBerry boss said that he reckoned the firm was still competing in smartphones, but he would continue to focus on strengths including mobile data security and device management. Chen added that the company was well on its way to recovery and he thought it would meet its target of being cash-flow positive by the end of the current fiscal year.

Part of that recovery would include strategic acquisitions, which Chen reckons the company is now in a position to make. Just last week, BlackBerry said it would slurp German voice and data encryption firm Secusmart, which already partners with the firm on its mobes.

However, Chen wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He also warned that the firm had “no margin for error” to complete its turnaround, so employees needed to stay focused while the company upgrades its device management system and releases new devices Passport and Classic in the next quarter. ®

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