John Chen will have a formidable challenge on his hands coming in as the interim CEO and chairman of troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY). At least he'll be sufficiently compensated for his efforts -- the company revealed in an SEC filing that he will draw an annual base salary of $1 million.
Chen's compensation package also includes a performance bonus of $2 million, and he will be granted 13 million restricted shares of the company. Twenty-five percent of the latter will vest on both the three- and four-year anniversaries of his employment, with the remainder vesting on the five-year mark.
His contract also includes a fairly big parachute. If terminated without cause, he will be paid his annual salary for the remainder of the year in which the termination occurs. He will also receive two times both his base salary and his base bonus and be able to keep his benefits for 18 months after the termination.
Chen's hiring is the company's latest attempt at revitalization. The move follows its decision not to go private, after top shareholder Fairfax Financial signed a letter of intent to do so for $9 per share. Subsequent to that, the firm announced it would sell $1 billion of convertible debt to a consortium of investors, chiefly Fairfax.
Chen is considered to be something of a turnaround artist, and BlackBerry investors are doubtless hoping he will be able to reverse the fortunes of their company. Previously, he was CEO of software provider Sybase, where he was instrumental in making the firm profitable after four consecutive years of losses. Eventually, it was sold for $5.8 billion to SAP.
At BlackBerry, Chen replaces Thorsten Heins, who was ousted last week.
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