One of BlackBerry Ltd.’s top executives is stepping down less than a year into the job.
Bryan Palma joined BlackBerry as president and chief operating officer last January from Cisco Systems Inc. Previously, he was Boeing Co.'s vice-president of cyber and security solutions. BlackBerry announced Mr. Palma’s exit after markets closed Monday, saying he “has decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”
Reporting to CEO John Chen, Mr. Palma ran the company’s internet-of-things business, overseeing both its secure connected-device software and its BlackBerry Technology Solutions Group, which includes connected-car software group QNX.
Both of those segments have been crucial to BlackBerry’s move away from smartphones under Mr. Chen’s turnaround plan. But the company’s stock hit a 16-year-low in early October as analysts slashed price targets and investors showed wariness about its performance in enterprise software, where it faces stiff competition from firms such as Microsoft Corp.
BlackBerry announced it was buying the California predictive cybersecurity company Cylance a year ago, which Mr. Chen said in March completed the company’s evolution "from a portfolio of strong assets to an enterprise security company.” Cylance now operates as its own division within BlackBerry, headed by its founder Stuart McClure.
The internet-of-things division, which investors had been disappointed in, is also focused on security, but from the perspective of secure data transmission. Its QNX connected-car technology is now used in more than 120 million vehicles.
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