BlackBerry maker Research In Motion’s regional director for sub-Saharan Africa, Deon Liebenberg, has resigned and will join rival Samsung, TechCentral has learnt from well-placed sources.
Liebenberg, who has been at RIM for nearly five years, declines to comment about the move, but a Samsung spokesman confirms he will join the local office of the Korean electronics giant on 1 July.
Samsung says he will take a “senior executive role” but that the details are still being finalised. The spokesman says Liebenberg has a six-month restraint of trade agreement with RIM, which will preclude him from being involved in Samsung’s mobile business until early next year.
During his tenure at RIM, Liebenberg has grown BlackBerry’s presence in the SA market in leaps and bounds, helping transform the brand from being popular only among corporate office workers to being wildly successful in the retail consumer and youth markets.
Its free BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging service and flat-rate Internet charges have proved hugely successful among budget-conscious consumers.
Last month, BlackBerry ousted Coca-Cola as the “coolest overall brand” among 8-22-year-olds in the Sunday Times Generation Next Youth Brand Survey. It climbed eight places from last year to snatch the number one position. It overtook Nokia, which had previously been the “coolest cellphone brand”. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral
- See also: How BlackBerry shed its corporate suit