"Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives," Dattels said in a statement.
(Read more: Apple expected to show next iPhone on Sept. 10)
BlackBerry pioneered on-your-hip email with its first smart phones and email pagers. But it has struggled to compete against the likes of Apple Inc and against phones using Google Inc's Android operating system. Its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones have failed to gain traction in a competitive market.
Reuters last week quoted sources familiar with the situation as saying BlackBerry was warming up to the possibility of going private. The sources said Heins and the company's board were increasingly coming around to the idea that taking BlackBerry private would give them breathing room to fix the company's problems out of the public eye.