BlackBerry Hires Its First-Ever Chief Security Officer

David Kleidermacher will be responsible for BlackBerry's global product security organization and will oversee the company's product certification and approval program.

New Blackberry hire

Enterprise mobile device company BlackBerry has just hired its first-ever chief security officer to help the company further refine its security focus and expand it into new areas such as the Internet of Things.

David Kleidermacher, who previously served as Chief Technology Officer for Green Hills Software, will be responsible for BlackBerry's global product security organization and will oversee security-specific research and product development, as well as the company's product certification and approval program. Kleidermacher "brings more than 20 years of strategy and product engineering experience to the role, including expertise in operating systems, high assurance software development techniques, mobile device security and the Internet of Things (IoT)," according to BlackBerry.

"David is an outstanding addition to our best-in-class security team, and he will help extend BlackBerry's gold standard of security as we work with customers to meet new cybersecurity challenges," John Chen, the executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry, said in a statement. "In particular, David's knowledge of securing the Internet of Things and embedded systems will be invaluable as we execute on our strategy and continue to expand our management of the world's mobile endpoints."

Kleidermacher holds patents in the areas of software development tools, mobile security and IoT technology and is a frequent speaker at industry events, according to BlackBerry. He is also the author of the book, "Embedded Systems Security: Practical Methods for Safe and Secure Software and Systems Development."

The hire was made to continue BlackBerry's focus on enterprise mobile communications security, according to the company. Kleidermacher succeeds Scott Totzke, who previously led BlackBerry's security group.

"If you think we have a big security problem with a billion smartphones, think what will happen when we have a trillion autonomous objects," Kleidermacher said in a statement. "I think BlackBerry is uniquely positioned to meet this challenge head on and I'm excited to be part of it."

Kleidermacher was not made available for an interview, despite a request by eWEEK.

In a Feb. 10 "Inside Blackberry" blog post, Kleidermacher is described as being involved in previous work at Green Hills Software that included leading the team that developed the company's INTEGRITY high reliability real-time operating system. This was certified by the National Security Agency at EAL6+ High Robustness Common Criteria SKPP—the highest security level ever achieved for an operating system, according to the post.

As 2015 begins, BlackBerry appears to be hard at work as it seeks to rebuild its reputation and market presence after some difficult years. BlackBerry's fall from dominating the enterprise smartphone market has been swift and stunning. The company spent much of 2012 and 2013 trying to shake off the image that it was finished, especially compared with its presence five years earlier when its devices were the "enterprise gold standard" for mobile business communications, according to earlier eWEEK reports. In early 2006, half of all smartphones sold were BlackBerry models. By 2009, though, its share of the global smartphone market was down to 20 percent.

At the same time, BlackBerry has been dealing with its own difficult financial matters as well for the last several years after falling from the pinnacle of the enterprise smartphone world. In December 2014, BlackBerry's fiscal 2015 third quarter earnings report showed revenue continued to fall in the third quarter, down 13.43 percent to $793 million from the prior quarter. The good news for the period was that its losses fell 28.5 percent to $148 million.

The $793 million in revenue is a drop from the $916 million posted in the company's second fiscal 2015 figures, which were reported in September 2014. The $148 million loss is an improvement from the $207 million loss that was posted at that time. The company's per-share loss was 28 cents, compared with a loss of 39 cents per share in the second quarter.

BlackBerry launched its latest new smartphone, the $449 BlackBerry Classic, Dec. 17, just a few months after unveiling its $599 BlackBerry Passport smartphone for enterprise users back in September.