BlackBerry CEO John Chen gets $128-million award to stay on for at least 5 more years

BlackBerry Ltd. Chief Executive Officer John Chen signed a new contract worth at least US$128 million to keep him on the job for at least five years.

The pay package includes 10 million restricted stock grants - valued at $128 million as of Wednesday's close - that will vest through November 2023, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said Thursday in a statement. Half will pay out if share-price goals of US$16 to US$20 are reached. He'll also get a performance-based cash award if the stock hits US$30. The value of the cash grant will be disclosed in the company's proxy circular in May, according to the statement.

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Since taking over in 2013, Chen has turned the company from a fallen smartphone maker into a smaller and leaner seller of security-focused software. He's cut thousands of employees and got out of the phone business completely. BlackBerry has also become more aggressive in pursuing patent claims against firms benefiting from technology the Canadian firm maintains it invented years ago.

BlackBerry shares climbed 15 per cent this year through Wednesday to US$12.80 in New York, after gaining 62 per cent last year.

Chen's base salary and annual bonus will remain at US$1 million and US$2 million, respectively. Over the past two years, Chen, 62, has voluntarily requested that his cash bonus be paid in shares, according to last year's proxy filing.

Bloomberg.com

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