John Chen

BlackBerry Executive Chairman & CEO

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How Do You Manage Your Emails?

First of all, I do all my email and all my communication personally. It's this important thing because through email and communication you pick up the nuances of what it really is about. You know,…

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How Do You Conduct Performance Reviews?

I actually believe performance reviews should be done on a continuous basis, I think day in and day out. Everybody should know, in order for a really good team to work together, they really should know…

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How Do You Fire Someone?

The key is really [that you] have to sit down with somebody and tell them why it's not going to work. If you treat them with respect, it really doesn't matter whether the individual will…

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How Do You Deal With Enemies in the Workplace?

Well, there's no place for hostile people, [in a] professional environment, there's no place for hostility. When we identify that, there's a set legal process to take care of it. The earlier, the faster you…

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Tell Us About a Mistake You Made and What You Learned

My job is obviously to build a team, to rescue companies, a rescue situation. And often time, you place, you over emphasize, and I do over emphasize the loyalty factor of the team, which is…

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Describe the Worst Boss You've Ever Had.

The worst boss I had was somebody I ran into, unfortunately, you know, through a big corporation reorganization, I end up working for him, and he just simply lied to me. He told me one thing,…

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Who Do You Admire and Why?

I admire people who don't give up. They always think about the possibility and there are very, very great examples in a lot of places. You got movie star have gone through that, you've got very…

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How Do You Manage Difficult People and Turn Them Into Team Players?

A lot of people [who are] being difficult are, because they feel like they're not being recognized. They have a little bit of a bigger ego than they think they are, they've probably been told…

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What’s an Effective Perk to Attract Top Talent?

In the engineering department, or the creative department, or the product department, people like to try new things. Engineers love tinkering, and sometimes that's a problem, because they tinker too much. You know, sales wants to…

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What Is the Most Important Soft Skill for a Manager?

I think transparency is very important, and I think fairness is very important. If you could be transparent and could be fair, sometimes, it might be tough, but people will follow you- because they know…

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What Do You Look for in a Job Candidate?

For awhile, I was looking for somebody who had failed in a startup because I wanted to start a new business and I didn't wanted to teach those people the pitfalls of failure or where…

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How Do You Deal With Legacy Employees?

You do need to terminate the relationship in a very quick way because they typically [have a] nucleus of people seeking their advice or [they] are creating a certain kind of environment that is less than desirable.…

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How Do You Know When Someone Is Ready to Be a Manager?

In any organization there are really anointed leaders and there are the leaders that everybody kind of gravitates to. You can see people that are ready and I always say to people, you need to be…

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Describe the Best Boss You've Ever Had.

The best boss I ever had actually is a very grumpy guy. He always had a way to say things like, I'll give you one that's actually pretty funny, but behind the funny there's something…

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What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Office Politics?

Every time there three people together you have politics. Two might not be, three might, two just disagreement, three is politics. You know, "I like this one better than the other one", or "I told…

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What Happened to You as a Child That Changed Your Life?

I'm very fortunate that I grew up relatively poor from parents that emigrated from China as- quote unquote refugees to escape the communists. The fortunate thing is, my father is well educated, although he doesn't…

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How Have Your Parents Affected You?

Oh in a very very big way, how they struggled through it and never gave up. My father, you know he doesn't understand English, because he was educated in China. I found one book when…

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What Do You Do When an Employee Makes a Serious Mistake?

You want to have an employee educated enough so that you don't really put yourself or your company in harm's way. You also don't want the employee to have no creativity whatsoever, I mean, that…

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How Do You Keep Someone Focused During a Personal Crisis?

There's no one set way of dealing with it. Again, you know, like most things in management, there's some principles around it, but you have to look at the circumstances. If it's a personal issue…

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"Board member of Walt Disney and Wells Fargo"

John Chen is Executive Chairman of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer.

A distinguished and proven leader in the technology industry. Prior to joining BlackBerry, he served as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc. from 1997 for 15 years, 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 Nixdorf, Pyramid Technology Corp., Unisys and Burroughs Corp, where he started his career as an engineer.

He 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.

He is actively involved in international relations and has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations.

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