Research In Motion, makers of BlackBerry, have announced that Thorsten Heins has been appointed the company’s new President and CEO. Heins replaces Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who have served as co-chairs and co-CEOs for several years now.
According to the announcement, Heins was recommended to the board by Lazaridis and Balsillie as part of a succession plan that they proposed to the board. The board voted unanimously to accept the plan and appoint Heins. As part of the succession Balsillie remains a member of RIM’s board of directors and a major shareholder. He expressed his enthusiasm at the change of leadership and said that Heins and the current management team “will have my full support.”
Lazaridis will become the Vice Chair of RIM’s board of directors, and chair of the board’s new Innovation Committee. Lazaridis also expressed enthusiasm at the move, saying that he felt Heins had shown “the right mix of leadership, relevant industry experience and skills to take the company forward.” He is so confident, in fact, that he also stated his plans to purchase another $50 million in RIM stock.
Following a 23-year tenure at Siemens Communications Heins, a native of Germany, went to work at RIM in 2007 as Senior Vice President for Hardware Engineering. In 2011 he became Chief Operating Officer for Product and Sales.
As part of the announcement, RIM posted a series of videos featuring Heins talking about RIM. Here are some of them:
Times have been hard for RIM lately. The company has been steadily losing market share to Android and iOS devices, and a string of underperforming products and poor business decisions have taken the situation from bad to worse. There have even been rumors that the company was looking to sell. While Heins’s appointment argues against such a sale, the fact remains that RIM remains in a tough spot. It will be interesting to see whether a new CEO can right RIM’s troubled ship. While the company seems enthusiastic about the change, reactions on Twitter and elsewhere were somewhat cooler:
RIM finally releases BlackBerry CEO 2.0.
RIM CEOs step down. Apparently they both slipped and fell into a lifeboat while Blackberry sunk.
What do you think? Will a new CEO be able to get RIM back on track? Sound off in the comments.