BlackBerry's M&A head Mackey says left company in February

TORONTO (Reuters) - Jim Mackey, BlackBerry Ltd’s head of corporate development and strategy, left the technology company in mid-February, he said on Thursday, leaving a leadership gap as it transitions to software from smartphone hardware.

A Blackberry sign is seen in front of their offices on the day of their annual general meeting for shareholders in Waterloo, Canada in this June 23, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

“It is true I left BlackBerry as of Feb. 13,” Mackey, who was executive vice president, executive operations, said in a LinkedIn message in response to a Reuters inquiry.

He did not give a reason and could not be reached for further comment.

BlackBerry, which in late 2013 issued a press release on the hiring of Mackey, did not announce his departure. Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard, in an interview on Thursday, declined to comment.

BlackBerry spurned its own operating system in favor of Alphabet Inc’s Android in late 2015 and signed deals late last year to license its security and productivity software to three manufacturers which are now building BlackBerry-branded devices.

Mackey worked directly with BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen, navigating the purchase and integration of a string of acquisitions and the signing of major partnership agreements.

Beard said in the interview that the company had largely completed its software portfolio and needed to push hard to win more customers, including by adding partners.

“The next part of it is the channel,” Beard said. “You can’t do it only direct, you need partners that fill in the gaps.”

“The biggest issue we have is not getting invited to the table because the customer doesn’t know that BlackBerry is doing that. That’s the challenge.”

In 2015 BlackBerry bought data synchronization company WatchDox and emergency communications company AtHoc for undisclosed amounts and paid $425 million to acquire former rival Good Technology Corp.

The businesses have been integrated into a broader security software portfolio that is key to BlackBerry’s future after losing its market-leading position in handsets to Apple Inc and Android-based devices.

Reporting by Morgan Sharp; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Richard Chang