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BlackBerry Parts Ways With Head of BBM Instant-Messaging Service

BlackBerry Smartphone
BBM, the BlackBerry Ltd. instant-messaging service, had 80 million users as of November. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

BlackBerry Ltd. parted ways with the head of its BBM instant-messaging service, one of the key areas Chief Executive Officer John Chen is counting on to revive the struggling smartphone maker.

Andrew Bocking, executive vice president for BlackBerry Messenger, decided to leave, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in an e-mail. John Sims, president of global enterprise solutions, will take on responsibility for the messaging service. Lisette Kwong, a BlackBerry spokeswoman, declined to comment on why Bocking left.

Chen, named to run the company in November after a scrapped sale attempt, has singled out BBM as one of BlackBerry’s pillars for growth. After the company decided to open the service to non-BlackBerry users, Bocking oversaw its introduction to iPhone and Android devices in October as a free software download. BBM had 80 million users as of November.

Sims, who was brought on board in December, is one of several executives Chen worked with at SAP AG and Sybase Inc.

Boy Genius Report noted Bocking’s departure earlier today.

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