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BlackBerry CEO emphasises growth after slashing 60 per cent of workforce

After slashing 60 per cent of its workforce in a brutal three-year period of restructuring, it looks like the tide could be turning for beleaguered BlackBerry and its smartphone business.

An internal memo from CEO John Chen to all company employees was picked up by Reuters, revealing that BlackBerry has plans to grow once more.

"We have completed the restructuring notification process, and the workforce reduction that began three years ago is now behind us," read the memo that was sent out on Friday.

"More importantly, barring any unexpected downturns in the market, we will be adding headcount in certain areas such as product development, sales and customer service, beginning in modest numbers," continued Chen, who also took pains to personally thank those that stayed with the company through the turbulent process.

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The three year long restructure was part of an attempt by BlackBerry to reinvent itself in an increasingly competitive market. While the Canadian company dominated the smartphone market in its infancy, sales have been dramatically eroded over the last four years by Apple's iPhone and an unrelenting cannonade of rival Android devices.

Chen has spent the last eight months as CEO implementing a corrective strategy to steer BlackBerry back on course. He has sold non-core assets, sought new partnerships to make the company's manufacturing and supply chain more efficient and sold BlackBerry's extensive real estate holdings to raise much-needed cash.

Read more: A passport to success for Blackberry (opens in new tab)

If anyone could turn around BlackBerry's fortunes, it would be Chen. He's a prominent fate-changer in the technology sector (having reversed the fortunes of Sybase in late 1990s) and has made clear that he believes BlackBerry can remain a smartphone heavyweight if it builds on its core strengths of mobile data security and device management.

In the memo he emphasised that BlackBerry is now "well on its way to recovery" and that he is confident it will achieve its goal of being cash flow positive by the end of the current financial year.

Chen is also optimistic for future revenue growth after revealing that Blackberry is now in a position to make strategic acquisitions, allowing the company to strengthen areas that will keep it moving forward.

Update 12:42 BST 05/08.2014: When contacted, BlackBerry refused to comment as this was an "internal memo."

Alysia Judge
Alysia Judge

Alysia is a multi-talented freelance filmmaker, presenter, and writer. She's worked with and created content for Netflix UK, IGN, BAFTA, the Guardian, the BBC, and has written for sites like IT Pro Portal GamesRadar, IGN, and more. She also works with UK gaming body, UKIE.