Blogs & Comment

Winners & Losers: BlackBerry gets its groove back, American Apparel fires Dov Charney

Dov Charney remains very chill as CEO for 30 days


Playbook? What Playbook?

John Chen waving BlackBerrys

Imagine there’s a guy crossing the street. Suddenly, a car hits him. And then, a bus hits him. And then—he’s hit by lightning at the same time that a piano falls on his head. And yet, despite this unrelenting string of bad fortune, he still makes it across the street. This must be what it feels like to work at BlackBerry. The Canadian smartphone maker has suffered years of bad news. The company has lost sales to Apple and Android, it was late in delivering new products, burned through a couple of CEOs and saw its share price tumble from an all-time high of $150 to less than $10. So when the company announced a $23-million profit this week, it didn’t just seem like good news—it seemed like a miracle. Even better, John Chen, the latest chief executive, is making smart strategic moves like teaming with Amazon to give BlackBerry users access to 240,000 new apps. It might be beaten, bruised and ridiculed—but BlackBerry isn’t dead yet.

American Apparel

Turn in your phone, office key, and gold lamé short-shorts

Dov Charney going away

This clothing company is famous for three things: its expensive, flimsy t-shirts, its provocative advertising campaigns and its eccentric Montreal-born chairman Dov Charney. Well, itl will soon be famous for only two of those things. American Apparel’s board this week voted to fire Charney, citing an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct. The only thing that’s really surprising is that Charney wasn’t fired sooner. Sure, he had his good qualities—like insisting the clothes be Made-in-America and not in sweat shops. But he’s been accused of all sorts of inappropriate behaviour over the years—like wandering the company’s factory in his underwear and running a meeting while wearing only a sock (Please note—it wasn’t on his foot). While the company was once a darling of the fashion community, American Apparel hasn’t turned a profit since 2009. Oddly enough, Charney will remain CEO for 30 days before his firing takes effect. That seems a bit like breaking up with your boyfriend, then letting him sit on your couch for a month—most likely, in his underwear.