The Board of RIM has decided to replace its two CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, with the former Siemens employee, Thorsten Heins.
RIM has been having a rather tough time of it of late, with worldwide service outages, a faltering product line and misbehaving executives among the problems facing the company. As a result stockholders – and even some members of staff – have been openly calling for the replacement of the co-CEOs.
Thorstein Heins, 54, has been with the company since 2007 having previously worked for Siemens AG. In a video interview (below) released by RIM, the new boss says that he sees no problem with the company becoming one of the “top three players worldwide in the next years in wireless.”
However Heins will face an uphill struggle with the company having somewhat missed the boat when Apple and then Android devices began to dominate the smartphone sector over the past three years.
BlackBerry 10, based on QNX, will be launched later this year and its success could be the key to RIM’s fortunes over the next decade. With reports of the platform facing problems already and the beleaguered PlayBook tablet not selling, Heins will need to change things pretty quickly.
In the video he said things do need to change: “We have learned to execute. Yes, we have to get better at execution, but we’ve learned a lot going from a drawing room in 2007. Make sure that once we say a product is defined, that we move decisively into execution mode, and get the product done in good quality, and on time, and also at good cost. We need to get a bit more disciplined in our own processes.” He goes on to mention BlackBerry 10 in particular, saying: “Needless to say – gotta ship on time, gotta ship with good quality.”
Lazaridis and Balsillie who have been removed as co-CEOs of RIM.
Lazaridis and Balsillie also gave up their shared role as chairman of RIM’s board. Barbara Stymiest, an independent board member who once headed the Toronto Stock Exchange, will take over in that capacity.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, Ms. Stymiest said: “We believe that Thorsten is the right executive to succeed Mike and Jim. He has 27 years of telecommunications experience, including four years at RIM in senior management positions. As a Board, we have been impressed with his outstanding management skills, his leadership and his accomplishments within the company.”
Whether or not this change is what was needed at RIM will remain to be seen. Some will argue that an outsider with completely new ideas is what would be needed, but then again knowing the corporate structure of the company will aid the transition. Only time will tell we guess.
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