BlackBerry Limited has appointed IoT technology veteran Philip Brace to its board of directors, effective February 8, 2024. Brace will serve as a member of the Compensation, Nomination, and Governance Committee of the Board. Prem Watsa has decided to resign from the BlackBerry Board of Directors as of February 15, 2024.
Brace has an extensive background in the IoT, semiconductor, server and storage industries. His roles over the past three decades include a wide array of functions, including software, hardware, engineering, marketing, and sales. Most recently, from July 2021 to January 2023, he served as president and CEO of leading Canadian wireless communications designer, Sierra Wireless Inc. In this position, he led the company through operational improvements that increased profits by more than 100%, says BlackBerry, and grew revenue by more than 40%, culminating in a successful acquisition by Semtech Corporation.
Prior to this, Brace served as executive vice president at Veritas Technologies, president of Seagate Technology’s Cloud Systems and Electronic Solutions, executive vice president at LSI Corporation, and general manager at Intel Corporation.
“We are delighted to welcome Phil to the BlackBerry board,” says Dick Lynch, Board Chair. “Phil brings deep business acumen and a wealth of relevant experience in many areas of technology, including IoT, one of BlackBerry’s principal target markets.”
“BlackBerry is currently undergoing significant change as we both separate and right-size our business into two standalone divisions,” adds John J. Giamatteo, BlackBerry CEO. “Having Phil join our board adds extensive knowledge to assist in guiding us through this process and beyond. Phil’s expertise in some of BlackBerry’s key markets will greatly benefit the entire organization.”
“I’m excited to join the BlackBerry Board of Directors at such a pivotal time in the company’s history,” comments Brace. “BlackBerry’s technology and market position provides significant opportunities to help enhance value for our customers and shareholders.”
Brace holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University, Sacramento. He has also participated in the Stanford University Directors’ Consortium. Additionally, Brace is a member of the Board of Directors at Lantronix Inc. and Inseego Corp.
BlackBerry also announced that Prem Watsa has decided to resign from the BlackBerry Board of Directors as of February 15, 2024, in connection with the company’s repayment at maturity of its $150 million principal amount convertible debentures held by affiliates of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, of which Watsa is Chairman and CEO.
Watsa has served as a director of the company since November 2013 and was a member of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee of the Board of Directors. He also previously served as a director of the company from January 2012 to August 2013.
“BlackBerry and its Board thanks Prem for his many years of support and contributions to the company,” says Lynch. “We have seen enormous change in our business during Prem’s time on the Board and are appreciative of all that he has done to help with those achievements.”
Adds Watsa: “It’s been a privilege to serve an iconic Canadian company like BlackBerry. I am excited about its future and wish the company and its Board success as it executes on its strategy.”
Following the appointment of Brace and the resignation of Watsa, the Board will have seven members, six of whom are independent directors.