BlackBerry Hires Former Colleague of CEO John Chen from SAP

Immediately after dropping “interim” from his title as chief executive officer of BlackBerry, John Chen has hired former colleague Eric Johnson.

Johnson, who hails from SAP, will head BlackBerry’s sales. At SAP, he was senior vice president in charge of the company’s global database and technology.

Johnson isn’t the first recruit Chen has hired from his past; he recently brought Mark Wilson, a former Sybase exec, and John Sims, from SAP, to lead marketing and enterprise for BlackBerry respectively.

“The experience that the majority of the new leadership team has in working together previously will drive change within the organization at a faster pace,” Chen said in the statement. “I look forward to demonstrating these changes to the market.”

Chen, who is also chairman of the company, has taken over the role of CEO on a permanent basis. According to a spokesperson for the company, Chen originally planned on seeking a permanent CEO quickly but has now decided to remain chief executive of BlackBerry until the smartphone maker is “back on solid financial footing,” noting that the company has stopped its search indefinitely.

Chen worked at Sybase, where he was credited with a significant long-term turnaround of the company. He replaced Thorsten Heins, who was fired last year after failing to improve BlackBerry’s position in the market after taking over the reins from founder Mike Lazaridis and his co-CEO, Jim Balsillie.