As Research In Motion’s two CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, stepped down recently, RIM’s Board of Directors named Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Officer as part of the succession plan its Co-Chief Executive Officers submitted to the board.
Mike Lazaridis, former Co-Chair and Co-CEO, has become Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee. As Vice Chair, he will work closely with Mr. Heins to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide.
Mr. Heins said he looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Lazaridis, globally recognized as a technology pioneer. He said, “œMike created a whole new way of communicating and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration.”
On the transition to CEO by Mr. Heins, Mr. Lazaridis said, “œThere comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership. Jim and I went to the Board and told them that we thought that time was now. With BlackBerry 7 now out, PlayBook 2.0 shipping in February and BlackBerry 10 expected to ship later this year, the company is entering a new phase, and we felt it was time for a new leader to take it through that phase and beyond. Jim, the Board and I all agreed that leader should be Thorsten Heins.”
Jim Balsillie remains a member of the Board. “œI 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,” he said. “œI remain a significant shareholder and a Director and, of course, they will have my full support.”
Mr. Lazaridis said that he decided to move from Co-Chair to Vice Chair of the Board in order to return the public’s focus to what is most important: “œthe great company we have built, its iconic products, global brand and its talented employees.”
Mr. Lazaridis added, “œThorsten has demonstrated throughout his tenure at RIM that he has the right mix of leadership, relevant industry experience and skills to take the company forward. We have been impressed with his operational skills at both RIM and Siemens. I am so confident in RIM’s future that I intend to purchase an additional $50 million of the company’s shares, as permitted, in the open market.”
Mr. Heins said he believes that RIM has tremendous potential. He joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December 2007 as Senior Vice President for Hardware Engineering and became Chief Operating Officer for Product and Sales in August 2011.
This development may be what RIM needs to steer the company to a more successful future but it’s not what their shareholders think as stocks fall 8.47 percent following this transition. Not to speculate anything but I hope RIM can turn it around with Heins on its helm.