Chen eligible for $3 million a year at BlackBerry

How much is it worth for a man to jump into the hot seat at struggling BlackBerry Ltd.?

For John Chen, who will become interim CEO and executive chairman of the Waterloo., Ont., company later this month, at least $1 million a year and possibly an extra $2 million a year if performance targets are met.

On top of that he’ll get 13 million BlackBerry shares that he’ll be able to start cashing out after his third year (25 per cent after the third year, another 25 per cent after the fourth year and the rest at the end of his fifth year).

Should he stay five years and BlackBerry stock not move, they’d be worth $85 million – and, obviously, more the stock goes up. (BlackBerry was trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange at $6.90 around 2 pm Eastern)

The numbers were made available in a filing Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chen, who won’t be moving to Waterloo, will be looking for a full-time CEO to handle the job Thorsten Heins is vacating. The document says Chen’s responsibilities as executive chair include control over strategic direction, strategic relationships, and organization goals of BlackBerry [TSX:BB] and authority over hiring, retention, duties, and responsibilities of all officers, executives and other employees.

The filing also revealed who are the companies putting up the $1 billion so BlackBerry has time to be overhauled.

Richmond Hill Ont.-based Canso Investment Counsel is in for $300,000; BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings is putting in $250,000; Toronto’s Mackenzie Financial Holdings is in for $200,000; Qatar’s Qatar Holding LLC and Virginia’s Markel Corp. are each putting in $100,000; and Toronto’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc. – which manages billions of dollars of real estate and physical infrastructure — has put in $50,000.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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