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Alicia Keys Leaving BlackBerry After Yearlong Stint

Former Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins & Singer Alicia Keys
Singer Alicia Keys, then global creative director for Blackberry, right, smiles while being introduced by Thorsten Heins, former chief executive officer of Research In Motion Ltd., during the launch of the BlackBerry 10 in New York, on Jan. 30, 2013. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

BlackBerry Ltd. is parting ways with Alicia Keys after the R&B singer failed to rekindle consumers’ love affair with the company’s smartphones.

Keys, who was hired as global creative director in January 2013, will be leaving the company after their yearlong collaboration, according to a statement today. The Grammy-winning artist came on board as the smartphone maker was unveiling its BlackBerry 10 operating system, a product rollout that ultimately flopped with shoppers.

Since Keys joined the company, BlackBerry has continued to lose market share to Apple Inc. and Google Inc.’s Android. An attempt to acquire the company and take it private failed, and it has refocused on corporate customers under new Chief Executive Officer John Chen.

In addition to serving as a high-profile BlackBerry user, Keys helped start the BlackBerry Scholars Program and advocated for getting more women into science and engineering.

“We thank Alicia for her many contributions,” the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in the statement. “We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented and passionate individual.”

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