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 company said.
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, Lazarids said.
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.