"The RIMdenberg"  (Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC)
RIM is refilling its executive ranks as top talent looks for positions at more successful firms

Times are pretty desperate at Canadian phonemaker Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM).  Customers are abandoning its soon to be defunct BlackBerry 7 lineup in favor of sleek Android handsets or Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPhones.  RIM is counting on a new, richer operating system -- BlackBerry 10 -- and a selection of new high-end handsets to change its fortunes.  But with cash running out, the company's future is anything but certain.

Thus it's not surprising that much of the top talent at RIM wants out.  With RIM scraping from the bottom of the executive talent barrel (such as the recently hired chief marketing officer, a castoff of bankrupt LTE telecom LightSquared), the company is also facing many of its top talents jumping ship.

Patrick Spence, former managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa was just recently appointed to head RIM's global sales efforts and was showing strong success in regions such as Indonesia.

Now the 14-year, London-based veteran and one of RIM's few rising talents has done the expected, announcing that he's jumping ship to a position in "another industry".

Patrick Spence
Patrick Spence was a very talented RIM executive.  He decided that his level of talent was a bit out place at RIM. [Image Source: RIM Vietnam Forums]

While some of RIM's recent departures have been involuntary -- such as co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis who were outed in the board's revival bid for the company -- many are simply talented executives who don't want to be part of what increasingly looks like a failing firm.

The list of recent departures is long and includes chief operating officer, Jim Rowan; head of software David Yach; senior vice president for the BlackBerry platform, Alan Brenner; vice president for the BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging product, Alistair Mitchell; and chief marketing officer, Keith Pardy.

As the executive ranks deterioriate, RIM's failing finances have necessitated cuts from the general ranks as well.  In July RIM trimmed 2,000 jobs, or about 11 percent of its global workforce.  Much of its marketing and developer relations teams were put out of a job.

With unsold handsets and a ragtag crew of replacements to RIM's former executive talent piling up, one has to wonder if there's any hope for RIM, even with the very promising BB10 on the way.  Most analysts have expressed much skepticism that RIM will be able to maintain independence, opining that it's headed for a sale or break-up.

RIM shares are currently trading at about a quarter of their value from a year ago.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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