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BlackBerry Executive Team

John Chen

CEO, BlackBerry

John Chen was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors on November 4, 2013.

John is a distinguished and proven leader in the technology industry. Prior to joining BlackBerry, he served as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc., where he developed and led the company’s re-invention from a mature, slower-growth technology company into a $1.5 billion-plus high-growth innovator. Under his direction, Sybase became the leading provider of enterprise mobility and mobile commerce solutions, achieving 55 consecutive quarters of profitability.

John previously held a series of executive positions at Siemens AG, Pyramid Technology Corp., and Burroughs Corp. He started his career as a design engineer with Unisys Corp.

John is actively involved in international relations. He has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations. In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush appointed him to serve on the President's Export Council. In 2006, he was appointed co-chair of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee. Additionally, John chaired the U.S.-China Policy Advisory Roundtable for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

In recognition of his leadership in building U.S.-Asia relations, John has received awards from the US-Asia Institute, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, and the California-Asia Business Council. For his corporate board work, he has been honored by the U.S.-Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.

John graduated from Brown University magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and holds a master's in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology. John has an honorary professorship from Shanghai University, and honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, City University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 

John serves on the board of directors for The Walt Disney Company and Wells Fargo & Co. He is also active in the not-for-profit community, and is also a trustee of Caltech, board member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, member of CFR, national trustee of The First Tee and Governor of the San Francisco Symphony.

James Yersh

Chief Financial Officer, BlackBerry

James Yersh previously served as the Senior Vice President, Controller of BlackBerry.  He was responsible for the Company’s consolidated and legal entity accounting, the external reporting function, insurance programs, as well as a number of aspects of management reporting and results analysis, and the consolidation of forecasts and plans.  He was also the company’s Head of Compliance and advised the Board and executive management on strategic initiatives.  Yersh has more than 15 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries.  Prior to joining BlackBerry in 2008, he held various senior positions at Cognos Incorporated and Deloitte.

Steven E. Zipperstein

Chief Legal Officer, BlackBerry

Steve Zipperstein was appointed to the role of Chief Legal Officer at BlackBerry, effective July 2012.

Steve has over 30 years of legal experience and most recently served as General Counsel from 2003 through 2011 for Verizon Wireless. Prior to the formation of Verizon he served as Deputy General Counsel with corporate-wide responsibility for state regulatory, litigation and compliance matters for GTE Corporation. Before joining GTE/Verizon, Steve worked for almost 10 years with the United States Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor.

Steve is a graduate of UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and of U.C. Davis Law School with a juris doctorate, where he also served as Law Review Editor and Member of the Moot Court Board.

John Sims

President, Global Enterprise Services, BlackBerry

John Sims is the President of Enterprise Services at BlackBerry. He joined the company from SAP where he served as President of SAP’s Mobile Services business.  John has more than 20 years of experience with companies that supply mobile telecommunications products and services to wireless operators.

Under John’s leadership, SAP Mobile Services achieved a number of key milestones that are helping grow the mobile eco-system around the world. These include establishing a leading position in Mobile Money solutions in emerging markets, enabling financial inclusion for millions of people, and extending mobile consumer solutions from financial institutions and mobile operators, to the Utilities, Retail and Consumer Products industries. As a strong advocate for the benefits of mobile networks moving to an IP infrastructure, John has spearheaded the launch of a global multi-service IPX, including LTE data roaming that is delivering quality and cost benefits for mobile operators. Before joining SAP, John held leadership positions at 724 Solutions, TANTAU Software, Intrado and Tandem Computers.  He holds a Bachelor of Accountacy from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of CTIA.