Waterloo, Ontario - Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie,
Research In Motion's co-chairs and co-CEOs, left their posts in the wake of
RIM's declining market share and stock price but remain on the board.
The board appointed fellow member Barbara Stymiest as board
chair and Thorsten Heins, RIM's COO for product and sales, as president and
CEO. Heins was also appointed to RIM's board.
Lazaridis and Balsillie remain on the board, with Lazaridis
becoming vice chair and chair of the board's new innovation committee. RIM said.
Lazaridis will work closely with Heins "to offer strategic counsel, provide a
smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide," the
Lazarides said he and Balsillie decided to make the change and
that they and the board agreed on the choice of Heins as president/CEO. "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,
He added, "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."
For his part, Heins said the former co-chairs "took a bold
step 18 months ago" with the purchase of QNX "to shepherd the transformation of
the BlackBerry platform for the next decade." Heins called that move "the
right path" for the company and called the company strong. He pointed to a
balance sheet with around $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter
and little debt. He also pointed to revenue of $5.2 billion in the previous
quarter, up 24 percent from the prior quarter, and a 35 percent year-to-year
increase in the BlackBerry subscriber base to more than 75 million worldwide.