RIM co-CEOs finally step aside, Thorsten Heins to take over as CEO by himself

RIM needs to make changes and figure out a strategy to stay competitive in the smartphone market and a major first step was taken last night with the announcement that the co-CEOs are stepping down.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Last week I posted a link to a GDGT post on a couple of ideas proposed to help RIM stay alive. I think we have all thought the co-CEO strategy didn't work and there was no real forward thinking strategy at RIM so it was good to hear last night that Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are stepping down as co-CEOs while Mr. Thorsten Heins has been named as President and CEO.

Mr. Heins joined RIM in December 2007 as Senior VP for Hardware Engineering after leaving Siemens Communications Group. Mr. Heins made the following statements regarding the transition:

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

BlackBerry 7 has been well received. We are very excited about PlayBook 2.0 and BlackBerry 10. The reception of our products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was encouraging.

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. As with any company that has grown as fast as we have, there have been inevitable growing pains. We have learned from those challenges and, I believe, we have and will become a stronger company as a result. Going forward, we will continue to focus both on short-term and long-term growth, strategic planning, a customer- and market-based product approach, and flawless execution. We are in the process of recruiting a new Chief Marketing Officer to work closely with our product and sales teams to deliver the most compelling products and services.

We'll have to see how this leadership changes things for RIM, but I think it is an encouraging first step. However, with no new significant products launching until possibly later in 2012, it is going to be a long year for the folks at RIM.

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