‘Tis the season for new CEOs, it seems. This month the struggling BlackBerry made news when its former CEO, Thorsten Heins, stepped down and was replaced by John Chen. And over at Lazard Capital Markets, CEO William Buchanan also resigned after the company’s strategic review. He will be replaced by Scott McLaughlin and William Rosenberg, who will act as co-CEOs. And each day, Microsoft gets closer to naming its new CEO.
BlackBerry’s announcement came on Monday, November 4th, when many expected the company to instead announce a takeover deal with Fairfax Financial Holdings. Instead, there will be no full takeover and BlackBerry is instead receiving $1 billion in funding from Fairfax and other investors to get back on its feet. BlackBerry’s newest investors want to see the company move in a new direction, starting with the CEO and board. After the announcement, BlackBerry’s stocks plummeted once more. But new CEO John Chen has experience turning companies around, and many are hopeful he can do the same for BlackBerry.
Lazard Capital Markets CEO William Buchanan resigned at the very end of last month. The company had been “exploring strategic alternatives” and cut the size of its equity sales and trading and research divisions. The new co-CEOs will continue to complete their previous job functions, Rosenberg as COO and CFO and McLaughlin as the head of equities. LCM was initially formed in 2005 and is an offshoot of Lazard Ltd, whose CEO is Kenneth Jacobs. Several current and former Lazard Ltd. employees control LCM.
As we’ve seen with Best Buy and other struggling companies, a new CEO can make all the difference in the world. BlackBerry may have hope yet, especially when we consider that just fifteen months ago Best Buy’s stock was in free fall. Many analysts thought the company would never recover, but CEO Hubert Joly has changed all that, nearly quadrupling the stock prices in little more than a year. One strategic, innovative, and visionary leader can make a world of difference.