Depending on how closely you follow BlackBerry (News - Alert) news, you may have forgotten that singer-songwriter Alicia Keys joined the company as its global creative director toward the end of January last year. Well, those who did remember can pack that piece of trivia away because Keys will be leaving her post with the company as of January 30.
Keys joined BlackBerry during its rebranding announcement, changing from Research In Motion to BlackBerry, a year ago. The event also marked the introduction of new BlackBerry 10 devices, particularly the ill-fated BlackBerry Z10 and the more traditional, keyboard-toting Q10.
The combination of announcements was clearly meant to draw as much attention as possible to the BlackBerry brand, but the company was criticised for bringing Keys into the equation. Indeed, many assumed that she was merely brought on as in-house celebrity endorsement for BlackBerry’s new smartphones.
BlackBerry, meanwhile, has maintained that Keys’ involvement in the company goes beyond her star power, pointing primarily to her involvement in an initiative to support women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Regardless of her level of involvement with BlackBerry’s operations, however, taking Keys off the payroll is a smart move for a company that desperately needs to reduce spending.
There’s also the fact that Keys remained an iPhone (News - Alert) user after her appointment. This is based on the fact that a tweet was posted by Keys earlier this year that was sent from an iPhone. The singer claimed that her account had been hacked.
An emailed statement from BlackBerry seems to suggest an amicable split between Keys and the company, reading: “We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented and passionate individual.”
The decision to drop Keys is being viewed as another positive move from new CEO John Chen, who is in charge of turning around BlackBerry’s struggling operations.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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