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Happy 150th Birthday, Canada!

CORPORATE / 06.14.17 / John Chen

In 1984, in a room above a bagel shop in Waterloo Canada, Research In Motion (RIM) was founded. Gaining worldwide success for developing the BlackBerry smartphone, famous for its blinking red light, QWERTY keyboard and leading security, RIM became Canada’s top technology company. Known today as BlackBerry, we are defining a new market category called the Enterprise of Things (EoT) and delivering market-leading innovations in the security and connectivity of ‘Things’.

Over the last 30+ years our pride in being a Canadian company has been steadfast and strong. BlackBerry has grown to become a global company and remains faithfully headquartered in Waterloo. Our successes, past, present and future, would not have been and will not be possible without the support of Canada.

The Canadian government has been a staunch partner of BlackBerry, for which I am extremely grateful. Most recently Prime Minister Trudeau joined me in Ottawa to launch our Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center (AVIC); an important program for Canada’s innovation agenda and for BlackBerry’s continued market leadership.

The talent in the country is some of the world’s best. We work closely with Universities in Canada on coop and employment programs, helping the community and giving the company a tremendous competitive edge in the global marketplace.

The loyalty and passion of enterprises across the country, for BlackBerry as a fellow Canadian business, is also notable.

I am honored to be at the helm of such an iconic Canadian company. BlackBerry’s Canadian heritage is as important as its Canadian future. I am committed to investing in the country and am pleased we are its third-highest R&D spender.

I would like to say thank you to all Canadians for your continued support and wish you a very happy 150th birthday. BlackBerry will be supporting Canada 150 celebrations hosted by the Canadian Embassies in Tel Aviv, London, Jakarta, and Singapore. Also watch our Twitter handle @BlackBerry as we tweet out some of our favorite examples of #CanadianInnovation over the next few weeks until July 1st.

I am excited to see and be a part of how Canada continues to inspire its citizens and people around the world.

Here’s to the next 150 years!

Warm wishes,

John Chen

Executive Chairman & CEO BlackBerry

John Chen

About John Chen

John Chen is Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry. Appointed in November 2013, John led BlackBerry’s turnaround stabilizing the company’s financial position, ensuring its viability, and pivoting its operations from consumer hardware to enterprise software. Today the company takes advantage of the current growth opportunities in IoT and Cybersecurity and is pioneering the convergence of these two markets.

John is a distinguished business leader and proven turnaround executive with over 40 years of engineering and management experience. Prior to joining BlackBerry, John served as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc. where he re-invented the company and achieved 55 consecutive quarters of profitability during his 15-year tenure.

Recognized as a thought leader and as a respected voice in foreign policy, John has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations and was appointed by U.S. President George W. Bush 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), served on the Board of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations since 2012, and has been a member of the Committee of 100 since 1997 and its Chairman from 2009-2011.

John graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). 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 has received awards from the U.S.-Asia Institute, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, the California-Asia Business Council, and the U.S.-Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.

John served on the Board of Directors for The Walt Disney Company (2004-2019) and Wells Fargo & Co. (2006-2018) and as a trustee of Caltech (2008-2022). John is an Advisory Board member of the US Chamber China Center. He is also active in the not-for-profit community, and is a 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.