BlackBerry CEO Under Pressure to Resign or Make Big Changes Amid BB10 Flop
July 8, 2013 2:22 PM
Shareholder meeting is expected to be a roast of management, as shareholders bemoan stock plunge
New name, same old company; that's look of BlackBerry Ltd.'s (
"surprise" Q2 2013 loss
. It appears that the company's
modern operating system makeover, BlackBerry 10 (BB10), has been largely met with customer apathy and CEO Thorsten Heins
bold claims of a recovery
I. Investors Rebuke CEO Heins
Shares of BB had peaked back in January 2013
amid hope that BB10
could reverse RIM/BB's slide. Stock prices hit a high of $18.49 USD, a three-fold increase from around $6 in late 2012. But since share prices have started to plummet back downward, hovering around $10 USD this week.
The flop may cost Mr. Heins his job, and at the least is expected to trigger big changes as investor rage quietly boils ahead of the annual shareholder meeting. John Goldsmith, the deputy head of equities at Montrusco Bolton (
), holds 1.5m shares of BB -- roughly $15M USD of total investment. He angrily commented to
on the Q2 loss, "The results were
a quasi death knell
for BlackBerry. The share move last week was very violent. I think you are going to get people standing up and making their voices heard at the AGM."
Investors like the Q10 (left) and Z10 (right), but fear they can't compete w/ Apple and Samsung
Mr. Goldsmith says he loves the BB10 devices and thinks they could in theory do great -- just not in the hands of BB. He says compared to Apple, Inc. (
) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) BB is fish in a shark tank.
He comments, "The problem here is they are facing Goliaths like Apple and Samsung, forget about the other Android devices. With a research and development budget that is a fraction of that of those two companies, how on earth can they compete? I love fairy tale endings as much as the next person, but this is David versus two Goliaths, so good luck."
CEO Thorsten Heins admitted that BB will likely post another loss in Q3 2013, but insists that the gadget maker is "on the right track". He stated in the earnings call, "We stay the course. This is the course that management has created and it is course that the board has accepted."
The BB10 flop may cost CEO Thorsten Heins his job. [Image Source: Reuters]
And he comments to
, "This is a year of investment. We have managed our cash carefully and prudently, and we now have the funds to invest, so this is the 'create the future' year."
II. Investors Maul Butchering BlackBerry, Selling Off Units Separately
Investors appear to be taking issue, though with his views of prudence, which include monetary losses.
Investors aren't quite united, though, in what they want to see done. Some want management change; others are renewing cries for a sale -- either as a whole entity or in parts. The latter plan could involve individual sales of RIM's device and
, as well as
its patent portfolio
. But some aren't convinced there's much to recover from such a butchering of the BB carcass. Comments on top-20 RIM shareholder who spoke anonymously due to company policies, "I think the pieces were worth more than the whole a year or two ago, but that's becoming less of a convincing argument and I am not sure it is true."
Talk of chopping up BlackBerry is picking back up. [Image Source: Unknown]
But Canadian officials have already
given preliminary clearance
to the possibility of a sale, should it need to happen.
Whether its a sale or a leadership shakeup, shareholders do seem united that a big change is needed to save any part of BB. And they're willing to put pressure on the board. Yacktman Asset Management (
) -- which owns 5.8m shares (~$58M USD) -- is among those looking forward to the chance to press the issue at the annual general shareholder meeting.
The RIMdenberg can't seem to catch a break.
He warns, "It is the board's job to deal with this objectively, and we hope they would be objective enough to do the best thing for the shareholders."
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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