Co-CEOs replaced at RIM

New CEO for BlackBerry maker as Lazaridis and Balsillie step down

Tags: BlackBerryResearch In Motion
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Co-CEOs replaced at RIM Mike Lazaridis, who founded RIM, will move from Co-CEO and Co-chairman to vice chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  January 23, 2012

Research in Motion has announced that its two co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, have stepped down.

The BlackBerry maker said that both men had chosen to step down, following a strategic review.

Lazaridis, who founded RIM in 1984, will become vice chair of RIM's Board and Chair of the Board's new Innovation Committee, and will work to provide a smooth transition. Balsillie will continue to sit on the board but not have any operational role.

RIM has struggled in the face of competition from Apple and devices based on Google Android, and has recently cut product lines. Its BlackBerry Playbook tablet also failed to capture much market share. Its share price dropped 75% last year.

Thorsten Heins, the current COO, will take on the roles of president and chief executive officer, while Director Barbara Stymiest will take over as chairman.

Speaking in a company statement, Lazaridis said: "There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize 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. With BlackBerry 7 now out, PlayBook 2.0 shipping in February and BlackBerry 10 expected to ship later this year, the company is entering a new phase, and we felt it was time for a new leader to take it through that phase and beyond. Jim, the Board and I all agreed that leader should be Thorsten Heins."

"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 said. "We are more confident than ever that was the right path. It is Mike and Jim's continued unwillingness to sacrifice long-term value for short-term gain which has made RIM the great company that it is today.  I share that philosophy and am very excited about the company's future."

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