New RIM CEO takes over

2012-01-23 10:40
Cape Town - RIM on Monday named Thorsten Heins as president and chief executive officer of the BlackBerry maker.

Heins was appointed according to a succession plan submitted by former CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie who have resigned.

Lazaridis has become vice chair of RIM's Board and chair of the board's new Innovation Committee.

Heins indicated that there will be continuing input from Lazaridis and Balsillie who quit under pressure from shareholders after BlackBerry lost market share to Apple's iPhone and devices powered by Google's Android platform.

According to comScore, Android in the US commands over 50% of all smartphones.

"Mike [Lazaridis] created a whole new way of communicating and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration," said Heins.

Lazaridis put on a brave face, defending the decision to step down.

"There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognise 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," he said.

RIM is set to release the PlayBook in February 2012 and analysts are watching the company to see whether the device can make an impact in the tablet market dominated by Apple.

Heins said the company was in the black and, except for broad terms, did not specify his immediate strategic objectives.

It is likely though, that RIM will focus on growing its BlackBerry base, particularly in African and Asian markets.

Heins 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.


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