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RIM Reshuffles Management, Plans 10% Workforce Cut

Waterloo, Ontario
– Research In Motion (RIM) will reduce its global workforce by about 10.5
percent, or 2,000 employees, and it has reshuffled top management, as part of
what it called an effort to “streamline RIM’s operations in order to better
position the company for future growth and profitability.”

The changes come
as the company continues to lose smartphone market share with the rise of the
Android and Apple iPhone OSs.

The workforce cuts
are “focused on eliminating redundancies and reallocating resources to focus on
areas that offer the highest growth opportunities and alignment with RIM’s
strategic objectives,” the company said. The workforce reduction follows rapid
growth in employee ranks, with the company’s head count almost quadrupling in
the past five years, the company said.

This week, RIM
will inform employees in North America and select other countries about who
will get the axe. The rest of the global workforce reductions will occur at a
later date depending on local laws and regulations, the company said. Cut
employees will get severance packages and outplacement support, the company

The size of the
reductions is in line with a preliminary estimate factored into RIM’s full-year
financial guidance on June 16, the company noted, but one-time charges
associated with the cost optimization program were not included in RIM’s
second-quarter and full-year outlook. The charges will be disclosed Sept. 15.

Though RIM is reshuffling
management ranks, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis remain co-CEOs, but COO Don
Morrison, on temporary medical leave, will retire from the company after more
than 10 years with RIM. With Morrison’s departure, product engineering COO
Thorsten Heins becomes COO for product and sales, with all product engineering
functions, including both hardware and software teams, consolidated under his
direction. The consolidation, RIM contended, will “produce greater efficiencies
and help to accelerate new product introductions in the future.”

 Patrick Spence, who has overseen
operations in various countries for more than 10 years, becomes managing
director of global sales and regional marketing, reporting to Heins. Spence
will work with Thorsten “to tightly couple the execution of product development
and regional business operations around the world, enable faster local
execution tailored to local market needs, and support the needs of RIM’s valued
operator and distribution partners,” RIM said.

Jim Rowan, COO for
global manufacturing and supply chain, is taking on the expanded role of
operations COO and will continue to be responsible for manufacturing, global
supply chain and repair services. He also adds responsibility for the
organizational development and facilities management functions.

 Brian Bidulka, RIM’s chief financial
officer, is working together with Jim Rowan in overseeing the company’s cost
reduction program.

Robin Bienfait
remains chief information officer but adds responsibility for the enterprise
business unit. David Yach becomes software chief technology officer.