Co-CEOs Balsillie and Lazaridis Kicked Off Sinking RIM Ship, COO to Step In
January 22, 2012 9:40 PM
RIM finally grabs ahold of its future, dumps its past... sorta
writing has been on the wall for months
, but the co-CEO's of Research in Motion (RIM) are getting the boot. Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have shared power at RIM for over twenty years and oversaw the company's dominance at the start of the smartphone revolution. In their place will be a new, solitary President and CEO: 54-year-old Thorsten Heins.
RIM's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, pictured on the left [Source: Getty Images]
Heins joined RIM in 2007 and was previously the Waterloo, Ontario-based company's Chief Operating Officer. Before landing at RIM, Heins' most prominent role was a Chief Technology Officer for the communications division of Siemens.
I. Rearranging the Deck Chairs?
For those expecting a big change for RIM now that someone new is in the driver’s seat, you’ll likely be disappointed. According to
The Globe and Mail
, Heins has been groomed by both Balsillie and Lazaridis over the past few years to slide into the role as CEO; so it’s not like the company is getting an injection of fresh blood.
Lazaridis and Balsillie, who both will remain on RIM's board, had kind words for their protégé. “There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership,” said Lazaridis. “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,” added Balsillie. “I remain a significant shareholder and a Director and, of course, they will have my full support.”
In addition, Heins has no plans to change RIM’s current course when it comes to its product development. “There’s no need for me to shake this company up or turn it upside down,” said Heins. “We are not at a point where we try to define a strategy, that’s done.”
Heins went on to tout RIM’s upcoming PlayBook 2.0 software and the
delayed Blackberry 10 operating system
. “BlackBerry 7 has been well received. We are very excited about PlayBook 2.0 and BlackBerry 10. The reception of our products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was encouraging.
“RIM earned its reputation by focusing relentlessly on the customer and delivering unique mobile communications solutions. We intend to build on this heritage to expand BlackBerry’s leadership position.”
II. From Prized Jewel to Falling Star
Blackberry smartphones were the prized possessions of businessmen/businesswomen (and consumers) -- the smartphones were even lovingly referred to as
Former RIM Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis
However, the company was not agile enough to stay ahead of the game when new competitors entered the fray; especially once Apple's iPhone
hit the market in 2007
. What once was a small Chihuahua nipping at the heels of RIM in the beginning turned into a snarling pit bull once the full onslaught of Android-based smartphones started flooding the market.
When it comes to its current U.S. market share,
things look bleak for RIM
. According to Nielsen, Android smartphones have 46.3 percent of the market, while Apple's iPhone family has 30 percent market share. RIM has fallen from its commanding lead in the sector just a few short years ago to a meager 14.9 percent.
The numbers are even more sobering when you look at a three-month snapshot of smartphone sales. Those number shows that 51.7 recent smartphone acquirers went for Android devices, 37 percent flocked to iPhones, and just 6 percent crawled to RIM's Blackberries.
The Wall Street Journal
The Globe and Mail
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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