Steven Capelli, CFO of BlackBerry Ltd., will be moving into a newly created chief revenue officer (CRO) position, the company announced earlier this week in an earnings call. The position was formulated in an attempt to “boost revenue across the business,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Capelli, who was appointed CFO in 2016, will be restated as CRO in an effort to help the struggling enterprise software and services company increase its revenue and turn a profit despite increasingly narrow margins.
Deputy CFO Steve Rai will step in as full-time CFO after Capelli makes the move on October 1.
The reshuffling comes less than a year after the completion of BlackBerry’s acquisition of cybersecurity firm, Cylance Inc. In light of Apple and Samsung’s control on the smartphone market, BlackBerry has pivoted towards security and software.
Capelli categorized his new job as a lateral move, telling WSJ it wouldn’t change the reporting structure of the company. As CRO, he will “coordinate revenue generation efforts across the company, especially for new product launches that are planned for later this year and next year,” he said.
Capelli expressed excitement about the new role on the earnings call. “With the acquisition of Cylance and the leading-edge product launches ahead of us, this is the right time to drive a number of programs to increase the synergies of our products, people and go-to-market activities across all of our businesses,” he said. “The transition of the CFO role to Steve Rai should be a smooth one, as we have been working on this for a number of quarters.”
Following BlackBerry’s announcement, shares fell 22.7% to $5.81 at closing on Tuesday.
As new CFO, Rai is expected to focus on “generating potential synergies from the Cylance acquisition as well as managing cash flow,” analysts told WSJ.
Rai confirmed his intention to invest “as much as possible while remaining cash-flow positive” in an interview with WSJ, but declined to provide figures for planned investments or a cash-flow target.
“Although we are all disappointed with the short-term results ... we are in a very strong position to win the $22 billion secure Internet of Things software market, as well as the auto market,” BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen told analysts during the earnings call.
“We have great products, and a number of new leading-edge products launching in the next 6 months. We're working on a number of exciting partnership announcements, [and] investing heavily in our go-to market. Our focus is now on execution and on growth,” Chen said.