RIM (Research in Motion), makers of BlackBerry, announced some new management changes and job cuts today, or as the company calls it, a new "cost optimization program". The program was actually first mentioned back in mid-June.
First, the management changes. Thorsten Heins will become COO, Product and Sales. He will oversee all product engineering functions, including hardware and software teams.
Patrick Spence is to become Managing Director, Global Sales and Regional Marketing. He will report to Heins.
Robin Bienfait will remain CIO, and adds the Enterprise Business Unit to her list of responsibilities, which also includes BlackBerry Operations, Customer Service, and Corporate IT Functions.
CTO David Yach will focus on software platforms and the developer and app ecosystem.
Jim Rowan is to become COO, Operations, in charge of manufacturing, supply chain, and repair services, and Organizational Development and Facilities Management.
CFO Brian Bidulka and Rowan are working together to oversee the cost optimization program. RIM said in its announcement:
The workforce reduction is believed to be a prudent and necessary step for the long term success of the company and it follows an extended period of rapid growth within the company whereby the workforce had nearly quadrupled in the last five years alone.
As part of this broad effort, RIM is reducing its global workforce across all functions by approximately 2,000 employees. RIM intends to notify impacted employees in North America and certain other countries this week. The remainder of the global workforce reductions will occur at a later date subject to local laws and regulations. All impacted employees will receive severance packages and outplacement support.
The size of this workforce reduction is in line with the preliminary estimate that was factored into RIM’s full year financial guidance on June 16, 2011. Following the completion of the workforce reduction, RIM’s global workforce is expected to be approximately 17,000 people. Additional information about the financial impact of this workforce reduction and other operating expense reductions will be communicated when the company reports Q2 results on September 15, 2011. As explained on June 16, 2011, any one-time charges associated with the cost optimization program are not included in RIM’s Q2 and full year outlook, but will be identified and disclosed on September 15, 2011.
On Friday, RIM announced that it had acquired the JayCut team. JayCut provides video editing and cloud-based services for the BlackBerry platform.
"The BlackBerry PlayBook offers users premium multimedia features, including dual HD cameras for video capture and video conferencing, HDMI output and high resolution video playback," said Yach. "By working with JayCut to add video editing capabilities to the BlackBerry platform we can further enrich our customers’ multimedia experience with BlackBerry."
RIM stock is down in morning trading.