Waterloo-based smartphone maker BlackBerry has confirmed it has laid off 80 of its employees this week as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce its global workforce by 4,500.
BlackBerry said in an email the cuts this week include "approximately 80 employees in Waterloo," adding "we are in a period of transition and we must focus on enhancing our financial results to be in a better position to compete in this current mobile environment."
"We recognize our local employees’ hard work on behalf of our company and the difficulty of this news," the statement said.
In a deal struck with Fairfax Financial in November, BlackBerry agreed to hire John Chen as its new interim chief executive. Chen is the former CEO of Sybase, a money-losing company that he led into the profitable sector of business software for mobile devices. He is charged with the task of finding a new CEO for BlackBerry and orchestrating a turnaround.
BlackBerry has been in the process of reducing its expenses in an effort to refocus the business, a move which has included laying off 40 per cent of its staff, or about 4,500 employees.
Fairfax Financial backed off a proposal to buy the company and take it private, but agreed to a $1-billion finance package to buy the company time to restructure.