Following more than a decade at the helm of the Canadian technology company BlackBerry, CEO John Chen will retire at the end of this week, after a career which has seen the tech firm transform from a hardware and devices company, to an enterprise software firm.

The company also announced that as it is searching for a permanent replacement for Chen, it will be naming Richard Lynch, a director on the board of BlackBerry, to the position of interim CEO.

Chen will also be stepping down as board chair, with Lynch stepping into that position as well.

Following the Global and Mail reporting on the departure of Chen, US listed shares of the company closed up 6.5% in late afternoon trading hours.

Chen came on board at BlackBerry in November of 2013.

BlackBerry was once most notable for its business phones, featuring a full keyboard. However the company began to rapidly decline following the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007, and the sudden adoption of smartphones powered by the Android operating system at around the same time.

Since then it has moved on to focus its business of cybersecurity, in-car software, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The company announced earlier in the month that it was planning to partition its IoT and cybersecurity units, so that it could target a subsidiary initial public offering next fiscal year for the IoT business.

Last year the company exited its smartphone business, and has been looking for buyers for its legacy patents which it developed for its mobile devices.

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