Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) has hired a former Sony Ericsson executive to head its loss-making devices business, a job needing a heavy dose of salesmanship to win back companies and consumers lured away by larger rivals.

Ron Louks took the position of president of devices and emerging solutions, BlackBerry said in a statement on Monday.

It said Louks was joining from OpenNMS Group, where he had served as chief executive officer. He had previously worked as head of strategy for HTC Corp's American unit and as head of technology at Sony Ericsson, a joint venture later bought out by Sony Corp (SNE).

BlackBerry was a smartphone pioneer, but has lost most of the market to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices using Google Inc's Android technology. The Canadian company has since shifted its focus from the consumer market to serving businesses, governments and other large organizations.