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RIM Board Does the Executive Shuffle, Appoints New CEO

By - Source: Research In Motion | B 13 comments

The co-Chief Executive Officers of Research In Motion, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, have stepped down from their positions as CEOs and handed the reins over to Thorsten Heins.

BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion has been in desperate need of a new lease on life for the last couple of years, and last night, RIM announced a shakeup that it hopes will kick-start the once great smartphone company. After 20 years of service, CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are out, and relative new comer Thorsten Heins is in.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the news yesterday evening, before it was official. Research In Motion confirmed the executive shuffle in a press release late last night.

"The Board of Directors of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion today announced that, acting on the recommendation of its Co-Chief Executive Officers to implement the succession plan they previously submitted to the Board, it has unanimously named Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Officer," RIM said in a statement. "Mr. Heins was also appointed to RIM's Board."

RIM founder Mike Lazaridis said that it was time to pass the baton and that both he and Balsillie recognized the need for new leadership.

"There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership," he said. "Jim and I went to the Board and told them that we thought that time was now."

"I agree this is the right time to pass the baton to new leadership, and I have complete confidence in Thorsten, the management team and the company," former co-CEO Jim Balsillie added in agreement. "I remain a significant shareholder and a Director and, of course, they will have my full support."

Prior to his promotion to CEO and President of the company, Thorsten Heins was Chief Operating Officer at RIM. However, he hasn't been in that role for long, having only been promoted to COO in August of last year. Thorsten joined the company in December of 2007 as Senior Vice President for Hardware Engineering. He remained in that position until his promotion six months ago. For his part, Heins seems to think RIM will be just fine.

"We have a strong balance sheet with approximately $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and negligible debt," he said. "We reported revenue of $5.2 billion in our last quarter, up 24 percent from the prior quarter, and a 35 percent year-to-year increase in the BlackBerry subscriber base, which is now over 75 million," Heins continued, before admitted that there has been some growing pains.

"As with any company that has grown as fast as we have, there have been inevitable growing pains. We have learned from those challenges and, I believe, we have and will become a stronger company as a result."

Research In Motion released the following video of Thorsten discussing the future of RIM and where he plans to take the company. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Meet Thorsten Heins, the new President and CEO of RIM

Display 13 Comments.
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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    trevorvdw , January 23, 2012 3:39 PM
    Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • 11 Hide
    fyend , January 23, 2012 4:10 PM
    captaincharismasays the apple fanboi


    Says the troll to the guy who didn't mention Apple. Troll hard 2 .. troll harder.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    trevorvdw , January 23, 2012 3:39 PM
    Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • 11 Hide
    fyend , January 23, 2012 4:10 PM
    captaincharismasays the apple fanboi


    Says the troll to the guy who didn't mention Apple. Troll hard 2 .. troll harder.
  • 0 Hide
    NuclearShadow , January 23, 2012 4:26 PM
    trevorvdwRearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.


    I have to agree. With the major players in the business there simply isn't room for all of them and someone has to go and that will be RIM. In such a competitive market that is fast changing and evolving it is only natural for companies to be pushed out.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , January 23, 2012 6:04 PM
    The saddest part is that RIM has some features that none of the other players have: Encryption, all in one inbox, full integration of things like Facebook with and to your BB contacts, built in auto-Over-The-Air backups, the ability to tether without jailbreaking/rooting... The torch's keyboard PLUS touchscreen PLUS track-pad is a phenomenal assemblage of input possibilities...

    But their low end/no contract offerings are SO BAD, and their software is just so buggy, and their phones are so expensive...

    All they need is some vision, and some brand management, and they could be a player in this market again...
  • 1 Hide
    the real mr b , January 23, 2012 6:48 PM
    I honnestly disagree on the fact that there isn't place for more players in the mobile market. It's a constantly expanding market and fact is, a BlackBerry CAN "interact" an android device. If you have a Windows Phone, you can call IPhones etc., you are not "excluded" from the others. You can't compare the mobile device market to, for example, an operating system market where a Windows computer can't really "interact" with an Apple computer.

    Of course, when big players like M$, Apple and Google enters your market, you are going to lose market share no matter what you do. At the end of day, RIM has a decent amount of fans out there and they will be able to exist. Their devices are unique and provide something different for their users.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , January 23, 2012 6:54 PM
    Zingam7" is not enough

    Tell that to Kindle Fire users...
  • 0 Hide
    dark_lord69 , January 23, 2012 7:39 PM
    How do I become the CEO of a sinking ship?...
    I'll go down with the ship and the corp can give me a golden parachute to retire at 31.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2012 8:50 PM
    dark_lord69 = John Thain? (The guy that sold Merrill Lynch to BofA)

    ok seriosuly, how did Heins get a promotion to COO 6 months on the job? What kind of results did he produce that quickly to warrant this? Me thinks he was told he would be CEO very quickly by the board and just parked in those other positions for a little while. Man, what must it feel like to be a RIM employee these days? Feel bad for those guys.
  • 0 Hide
    NuclearShadow , January 24, 2012 12:54 AM
    the real mr bI honnestly disagree on the fact that there isn't place for more players in the mobile market. It's a constantly expanding market and fact is, a BlackBerry CAN "interact" an android device. If you have a Windows Phone, you can call IPhones etc., you are not "excluded" from the others. You can't compare the mobile device market to, for example, an operating system market where a Windows computer can't really "interact" with an Apple computer. Of course, when big players like M$, Apple and Google enters your market, you are going to lose market share no matter what you do. At the end of day, RIM has a decent amount of fans out there and they will be able to exist. Their devices are unique and provide something different for their users.


    I want to agree with you. I really do. But the fact that anyone can get the rights to make a Android phone or even a Windows but mainly Android makes the market a vicious one. Those who make Android phones even have to compete with each other.

    Apple has a cult following with a army of brand loyal customers. They have a much larger financial backing. Love or hate Apple they are here to stay.

    Google's Android isn't just fueled by Google but all the companies that make products that run the OS. With this major backing this means new products running Android can be constantly put out. Flooding the market with new toys faster than RIM or Apple can combined. In it's short time Android has over 50% of the market share and is still growing.

    Microsoft's Windows phones while not getting nearly much attention is something that clearly plans to stay. At this point it only has one way to go and that is up. Even if it doesn't it's Microsoft and they can afford to get less than great sales.

    Then you have RIM. Least amount of money than any others mentioned above. RIM is losing major marketshare and is down to 16% and there is no sign that it is even stable there. The few loyalists that RIM has will not be able to keep them afloat. Due to the flood of Android devices RIM is going to be washed away. I don't seem RIM around 3 years from now.
  • 0 Hide
    alyoshka , January 24, 2012 5:52 AM
    I really like the "Loyalist" and "Fan Following" bit, it makes them sound as if they buy a new phone everyday of the week.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , January 24, 2012 8:09 AM
    alyoshkaI really like the "Loyalist" and "Fan Following" bit, it makes them sound as if they buy a new phone everyday of the week.

    You would until you get a windows phone
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 24, 2012 12:15 PM
    It's funny to see all these comments about RIM is a failing company, despite the fact that most of the Fortune 500 rely on it.

    Sinking ship, hahaha.