Recording artist Alicia Keys is officially on her way out as global creative director for BlackBerry, the Canadian telecommunications and wireless company. Keys has been in place for only a year.
BlackBerry has had tough year. The company announced last month it expects to suffer a $4.4 billion loss for its 3rd quarter of 2014. According to GAAP measures, this comes out to a per-share loss of $8.37.
Additionally, company co-founder Michael Lazaridis called off his bid to take over the company, causing a drop in share price.
There’s no word yet as to why Keys and BlackBerry have parted ways but her departure may give the star more time to focus on her day job of writing, recording and performing music. Woe to Keys if her compensation package included equity, the company’s stocks have fallen over 33% on the year as of trading January 2.
Partnerships between celebrities and companies are not uncommon and a good way for both parties to up their visibility and reap financial benefits. Megastar Lady Gaga has held the creative director position for certain Polaroid products, including a wireless printer and imaging sunglasses.
U2’s famous partnership with Apple has been a boon to both the company and the band. U2, which had never lent its music to commercials prior, allowed their song “Vertigo” to be used to promote the iPod in 2004. “It’s art, commerce, and technology colliding,” said Bono, the band’s frontman. Bono, went on to back Apple competitor, Palm, through investment from Elevation Partners, the $2 billion venture firm he co-founded.
Other celebrities dancing in tandem with consumer goods companies include 50 Cent, who walked away with $100 million through his deal with Glaceau’s Vitamin Water after it was acquired by Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion.
Like Keys, recording artist Will.i.am, from The Black Eyed Peas, is creative director for Intel.
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