RIM restructures top shelf: Appoints Heins as CEO, Stymeist as Chairman

RIM, the maker of Blackberry smartphone has appointed Thorsten Heins as CEO  and President of the company with immediate effect.
The company’s board of directors announced the change Sunday night, saying that the decision was made “acting on the recommendation” of a succession plan put together by Balsillie and Lazaridis, who have tried to breathe new life into the struggling company. Lazaridis will become the vice chairman of RIM’s board and chairman of a new “innovation committee.” Balsillie will remain as a member of the board.
Lazaridis said in a company statement that the decision for the change is intended to put focus on the company, its products and its brand — a reference to the mounting criticism over the co-chief executives’ handling of the BlackBerry PlayBook launch, BBM outage and the company’s falling market share.

Thorsten Heins

Thorsten Heins, the new chief executive, was one of the company’s chief operating officers. Analysts said Sunday that RIM’s decision not to appoint a well-known executive from outside the company with a reputation for turning companies around might have been a mistake.


Despite the announcement, some analysts are skeptical that RIM can regain the ground it has lost to Google and Apple.

Barbara Stymiest, the former banker and stock exchange executive who’s been ranked among the world’s most powerful businesswomen, now faces a new challenge helping turn around Research In Motion Ltd., the BlackBerry maker that’s lost 90 percent of its market value in less than four years.

Stymiest, 55, a RIM director since 2007, was named chairman of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, replacing former co- Chairmen and co-Chief Executive Officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

Jim Balsillie & Mike Lazaridis

“They’ve not only built an iconic brand, they literally pioneered the smart phone industry,”

Stymiest said in an interview, referring to Balsillie and Lazaridis.


RIM fell 7 percent to C$16.05 at 10 a.m. trading in Toronto, the biggest drop in five weeks.

With the new position, Stymiest shifts from banking and finance to technology, as the smartphone seller tries to stem a plunge in sales and declining market share to bigger competitors such as Apple Inc.

She retired from her post last year as a senior executive with Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank, saying she wanted to devote more time to board work, charity and lowering her handicap in golf. She last served as group head of strategy, treasury and corporate services at the Toronto-based bank.