The Wall Street Journal
BlackBerry Hires New Security Chief
By Ben Dummett
February 10, 2015
TORONTO— BlackBerry Ltd. Tuesday said it hired a new chief security officer, strengthening the smartphone-maker’s focus on developing mobile security technology.
David Kleidermacher will oversee development of security features for BlackBerry devices, mobile device security software and other products, as well as spearhead research and development aimed at preventing security breaches at a time when enterprise employees increasingly access and transmit data over their smartphones.
Mr. Kleidermacher joins the Waterloo, Ontario-based company from Green Hills Software, where he was chief technology officer. Green Hills, a closely held developer of embedded software based in Santa Barbara, Calif., targets many of the same security-conscious customers as BlackBerry, including the military, medical, industrial and automotive sectors.
“We have to be able to raise the level of assurance so that…we can actually prevent attacks instead of just always responding or reacting to them,” Mr. Kleidermacher said in a phone interview.
His hiring comes after BlackBerry’s senior vice president for security, Scott Totzke, left the company last summer. Mr. Totzke is now senior vice president, device and enterprise security, at Huawei Technologies Co., a rival smartphone maker.
It is also BlackBerry’s second high-profile hire since October. That is when Travis Angle joined from Apple Inc. to head development of companion products.
After a failed comeback attempt in the consumer market in 2013, BlackBerry is betting on its traditional strength developing secure mobile security software and devices that emphasize worker productivity to woo back its traditional enterprise customers. In November, BlackBerry launched a new security software that companies use to oversee employee devices on their corporate networks. It has also introduced two smartphones over the last five months aimed at professionals and other government and corporate users, and next month it is expected to outline its device plans for 2015.
A big part of Mr. Kleidermacher’s job will be to focus on helping BlackBerry take advantage of the expected growth in companies using secure mobile technology for data collection, record maintenance and smartphone-device management to cut costs and operate more efficiently.
BlackBerry’s “Internet of Things” strategy centers on its QNX operating system, which is used by many of the world’s major automobile makers to power their in-car infotainment systems, and the company’s secure network and device-management software. BlackBerry aims to extend the reach of this technology to the medical industry to capture and transmit medical data between doctors and patients.
Similarly, BlackBerry expects the shipping industry to use its Internet of Things technology to track cargo shipments, while betting the automotive industry will use the technology to allow drivers to remotely control Internet-enabled electronic devices in their homes.
Mr. Kleidermacher’s “knowledge of securing the Internet of Things and embedded systems will be invaluable as we execute on our strategy,” BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said in a statement.
Manager, Corporate Communications