BlackBerry’s India Managing Director Sunil Dutt Quits Days After Z10 Launch

Sunil Dutt, Former Research In Motion (Blackberry) India Managing Director
Sunil Dutt, Former Research In Motion (Blackberry) India Managing Director

We don’t usually cover people movement because most of it isn’t all that important. But every once in a while, we come across an exit which gets us curious. Phone maker BlackBerry which was riding a high after a long time, has found itself in a bit of trouble once again.

On Friday, the company’s managing director of India, Sunil Dutt, resigned very suddenly. The announcement came hours after BlackBerry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins told Reuters that their latest flagship phone the Z10 had sold out in two days. “I was surprised when we launched in India how well the Z10, which is a high-end device, sold,” Heins told Reuters. “We shipped into the channel product that we thought would have been good for at least five days and I got an emergency call from our manager in India, saying that they were sold out in two days.”

Why then, did Dutt quit so suddenly? Could it have had something to do with the phones much ridiculed pricing? Could Blackberry’s Z10 have been priced a tad too high so as to have a major impact future sales? For Blackberry, India is a very important market. The Z10 is also a very important phone for Blackberry. So much so that it can not afford to make any mistakes.

India was one of the first countries to see the Z10 go on sale. It is still not on sale in the United States and most European countries.  The Z10 is seen as a make-or-break product for BlackBerry, formerly Research in Motion, which was once the leading smartphone manufacturer, but has seen its market share slip to rivals like Apple and Samsung.

Sunil Dutt, was earlier with Samsung and Nokia, before he was appointed in December 2011 to head BlackBerry’s India operations. A BlackBerry spokesperson confirmed his resignation.
BlackBerry has not provided any reason for the resignation. In a statement to NextBigWhat, Varghese Thomas, director of corporate communications, BlackBerry India and Greater China said

“In the interim, Rick Costanzo, Executive Vice President for Global Sales, will take over the leadership of the talented management team in India as we start the search for a new Sales lead as soon as possible.  India is an extremely important market for BlackBerry and our aim is to continue to build on our recent momentum with the launch of BlackBerry 10.”

There are reports that the resignation is already having a negative impact on sales and when we took a look at Google Trends, we noticed that the number of searches for the Z10 has dropped from its peak on February 25 when the pricing for the device was launched.

Another problem that we see for BlackBerry is the relationship that Sunil Dutt had probably developed with retailers will have to now be rebuilt by the new managing director.

The launch of the Q10, the second BlackBerry 10 device with a QWERTY keyboard, which was expected to launch in India in April, could also face hurdles. The Q10 was a device that was expected to appeal to traditional BlackBerry users.

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