RIM’s co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, resigned after two decades helming the now embattled maker of the BlackBerry and PlayBook Tablet. In 2011 RIM’s stock lost three-fourths of its value, and RIM has been under pressure from investors to change direction and leadership.
Recently RIM struggled, slashing earnings after the PlayBook failed to keep paces with Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. The company hemorrhaged customers as consumers deserted the once ubiquitous BlackBerry for the Apple iPhone or smart phones running Google’s Android OS.
RIM stated that Balsillie and Lazaridis had stepped down from their positions. RIM’s board named Thorsten Heins as President and CEO. Heins moves up from his spot as one of RIM’s two Chief Operating Officers focusing on software, hardware, and sales. Prior to joining RIM Heins was the Chief Technology Officer for Siemans AG.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Heins denies the change came from investor pressure. He also stated that he has no plans to sell or break up the company. In interviews Balsillie and Lazaridis suggested that they were not forced to resign.
Instead, RIM is banking on an updated Playbook Tablet and a new Blackberry phone, and Blackberry 10, a new OS that will run both the tablet and the phone to end its slump. Heins hopes the new OS will attract consumers and developers alike, eliminating the need to consider selling RIM, or trying to fend off a hostile takeover from another company.
Using a loan from his parents as seed money, Balsillie co-founded RIM in 1984. Lazaridis joined RIM in 1992. Lazaridis will remain with RIM as its board’s vice chairman, and Balsillie will stay on as a board member.