BlackBerry lets go of Alicia Keys as global creative director
Celeb endorsement no longer fits company mandate to build enterprise business
BlackBerry is parting ways with singer Alicia Keys, after a year-long collaboration in which the star was meant to help grow business for the smartphone company.
The Waterloo, Ont.-based company says Keys will be leaving her role as its global creative director on Jan. 30.
Her involvement with the company drew criticism from some outsiders who said, despite the decidedly corporate title, Keys was little more than a celebrity who was brought in to help promote its BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
BlackBerry has insisted that Keys had a more direct involvement in its operations, including her work on a four-year scholarship program that encouraged young women to enter specific science and technology fields.
The company brought Keys onto the team last January at the splashy New York launch of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone line, which was supposed to mark a new beginning for the well-known brand.
The 14-time Grammy-winner joined then-CEO Thorsten Heins onstage, saying she would be working closely with app developers, designers, content creators and others on creating original content
She appeared at numerous corporate events throughout the year and in some promotional material.
With BlackBerry now focusing on the enterprise market and business users and the BlackBerry 10 declared a flop, the celebrity endorsement is no longer a good fit.
"We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented and passionate individual," the company said in an emailed statement.
BlackBerry shares rose 19 cents to $8.09 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.