RIM CEO’s Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis Abandon Ship

Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion have stepped down effective immediately, after a 75% decrease in the value of the company’s share price over the course of 2011. Chief Operating Officer Thorsten Heins will immediately become the new CEO, and is tasked with making BlackBerry competitive again in the smartphone market. With Apple and Google devices dominating the market, that will be no easy task.

According to the company, both Balsillie and Lazaridis relinquished their positions voluntarily. Lazaridis, the founder of Research in Motion, will remain with the company as the vice chairman; Balsillie will have a less active role as a board member with no operational control.

Despite slumping sales and the runaway success of Apple and Android devices, RIM leadership has resisted the idea of selling the company. The latest numbers have RIM holding 16.6% market share in the smartphone market, with Google leading with 46.9% and Apple in second at 28.7%. Things look bad for the once-king of the smartphone world, but incoming CEO Heins remains confident, claiming that no “drastic change” is needed to make RIM competitive. Investors seemed to disagree, as shares of the company fell 6.2% after Heins made the statement in a conference call. With Apple and Google rapidly infringing on the business world, largely considered to be BlackBerry’s turf, those investors just might be right to raise their eyebrows and drop their confidence in the company, especially considering the borderline disastrous release of the PlayBook tablet.

The outgoing CEOs remain positive, too, at least with what they are saying with their wallets. Lazaridis is planning to invest another $50 million in the company, while Balsillie offered a more tepid show of support, only saying that he plans to remain a major shareholder.

Best of luck to the new CEO – with BlackBerry 10 coming out later this year and the company’s stock in a tailspin, that new operating system just might make or break Research in Motion.

Via Bloomberg

One Comment

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  1. Don’t blame CEO, they want RIM win.
    RIM has strange culture and self distruct political environment.
    In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.
    It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM’s management may be a typical instance in MBA course.
    This culture deny or steal hardworking team members’ contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.
    So don’t blame CEO, some of their VPs and VPs’ expert generate terrible culture and self destruct political environment.

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