Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 24, 2012
RIM’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie resign
Smartphone pioneers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are stepping down from their chief executive roles at struggling BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd. in a dramatic shakeup that will see Thorsten Heins take the leadership reins as CEO.
But despite a more than two-thirds decline in RIM’s share price over the past year, Heins signalled that he will largely stay the course set by Balsillie and Lazaridis, who will remain significant shareholders and continue to hold seats on the Waterloo company’s board of directors.
“Mike and Jim took a bold step 18 months ago when RIM purchased QNX to shepherd the transformation of the BlackBerry platform for the next decade,” Heins, who will sit on the board, said in a news release. “We are more confident than ever that was the right path.”
In an interview with the Star Sunday night, Heins blasted critics who have dismissed RIM as yesterday’s company, saying it’s still a solid financial performer.
“The perception just doesn’t match the reality,” Heins told the Star. “We’ve got $1.5 billion in the bank, and virtually no debt. We’ve also got a 75 million subscriber base.”
A plummeting share in the U.S. smartphone market isn’t the only measuring stick RIM should be judged by, Heins said.
“It’s not just smartphones. We’ve got a data network, we’ve got services,” said Heins. “In a lot of countries around the world, we’re the No. 1 smartphone maker. In the U.S., yes, there’s a challenge.” (Source: Toronto Star)