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BlackBerry parting ways with singer Alicia Keys

She had been with the company as global creative director

Alicia Keys with former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins
(Associated Press)

BlackBerry is parting ways with singer Alicia Keys, after a year-long collaboration with the smartphone maker.
    
The Waterloo, Ont.-based company says Keys will be leaving her role as its global creative director on Jan. 30.
    
Her involvement with the company drew criticism from some outsiders who said, despite the decidedly corporate title, Keys was little more than a celebrity who was brought in to help promote its BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
    
BlackBerry has insisted that Keys had a more direct involvement in its operations, highlighting her work on a four-year scholarship program that encouraged young women to enter specific science and technology fields.
    
The company brought Keys onto the team last January at the splashy New York launch of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone line, which was supposed to mark a new beginning for the well-known brand.
    
She appeared at numerous corporate events throughout the year and in some promotional material.
    
``We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented and passionate individual,'' the company said in an emailed statement.
    
BlackBerry shares rose 19 cents to $8.09 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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