RIM appoints Thorsten Heins as President and CEO

by CXOtoday Staff    Jan 23, 2012

HeinsMike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the co-CEOS of RIM have stepped down as heads of the Waterloo, Ontario-based technology company.

The founders and CEOs of Canada-based BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, have stepped down from their roles.

Acting on the recommendation of its Co-Chief Executive Officers, RIM has unanimously named Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Lazaridis, former Co-Chair and Co-CEO, has become Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee.

“Thorsten 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,” said Lazaridis in a media statement.

Heins is a respected business leader with 27 years of broad experience and expertise in wireless networks and consumer electronics devices. Prior to today’s announcement, Heins was one of RIM’s two Chief Operating Officers and, before that, Senior Vice President for the Handheld Business Unit. He joined RM in December 2007 from the industrial conglomerate Siemens AG.

“RIM earned its reputation by focusing relentlessly on the customer and delivering unique mobile communications solutions. We intend to build on this heritage to expand BlackBerry’s leadership position,” said Heins.

RIM has been facing intense pressure from shareholders in the past few months to re-structure its management amid concerns that the company was not able to compete against the likes of Apple and Android makers in the smartphone market.

It was the most valuable company in Canada till 2008. The company took a massive downfall in 2011 lagging behind its peers in the smartphone market. A report released by IDC in November found RIM slipping 4.8 percent to the last place among the top five smart phone makers.

In October, RIM suffered a service outage in which millions of users across the globe went without Internet, e-mail and BBM for three days.

According to the company, RIM has a strong balance sheet with approximately $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and negligible debt. It reported revenue of $5.2 billion in the last quarter, up 24 percent from the prior quarter, and a 35 percent year-to-year increase in the BlackBerry subscriber base, which is now over 75 million.

“As with any company that has grown as fast as we have, there have been inevitable growing pains,” Heins said. “We have learned from those challenges and, I believe, we have and will become a stronger company as a result.”