RIM to lay off 2,000 employees, reorganize management

Research In Motion will lay off 2,000 of its employees, or about 10% of its total workforce, as part of a cost optimization program. “The workforce reduction is believed to be a prudent and necessary step for the long term success of the company and it follows an extended period of rapid growth within the company whereby the workforce had nearly quadrupled in the last five years alone,” the company said in a statement. The BlackBerry maker is also reorganizing several of its top management positions. RIM’s company statement does not mention any changes to the Co-CEO and Co-Chairman roles held by Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. RIM recently lost several executives, including the Vice President of digital marketing and media and the BlackBerry PlayBook senior product manager, to competitors including Samsung. Read on for the full press release.

Research In Motion Provides Management Update and Details On Cost Optimization Program

Waterloo, ON – Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today provided an update on changes in responsibilities amongst the company’s senior management team, as well as additional details about the cost optimization program announced on June 16th.  The changes described below are intended to create greater alignment of the organization and to streamline RIM’s operations in order to better position the company for future growth and profitability.

Senior Management Update
Thorsten Heins is taking on the expanded role of COO, Product and Sales. All product engineering functions, including both hardware and software teams, are being consolidated under Thorsten’s direction. This consolidation of product engineering functions is expected to both produce greater efficiencies and help to accelerate new product introductions in the future.

After more than ten years of success overseeing sales and country operations for RIM in various regions including North America, Asia Pacific and EMEA most recently, Patrick Spence is taking on the role of Managing Director, Global Sales and Regional Marketing. Patrick will report to Thorsten Heins and 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.

Robin Bienfait is maintaining her responsibilities as CIO, including BlackBerry Operations, Customer Service and Corporate IT functions, and also taking on responsibility for the Enterprise Business Unit focused on delivering outstanding customer service and extending RIM’s leadership in the enterprise sector.

David Yach, in his role as CTO, Software, will focus on current and future software platforms, as well as the surrounding developer and application ecosystem.

Jim Rowan is taking on the expanded role of COO, Operations and will continue to be responsible for manufacturing, global supply chain and repair services. As part of the streamlining effort and drive towards greater operational efficiencies, he will also now oversee the Organizational Development and Facilities Management functions.

Brian Bidulka, RIM’s CFO, is working together with Jim Rowan in overseeing the Cost Optimization Program which is currently underway.

Cost Optimization Program
In addition to the management changes outlined above, RIM today provided further details on its cost optimization program, which is 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 workforce reduction is believed to be a prudent and necessary step for the long term success of the company and it follows an extended period of rapid growth within the company whereby the workforce had nearly quadrupled in the last five years alone.

As part of this broad effort, RIM is reducing its global workforce across all functions by approximately 2,000 employees. RIM intends to notify impacted employees in North America and certain other countries this week. The remainder of the global workforce reductions will occur at a later date subject to local laws and regulations.  All impacted employees will receive severance packages and outplacement support.

The size of this workforce reduction is in line with the preliminary estimate that was factored into RIM’s full year financial guidance on June 16, 2011.  Following the completion of the workforce reduction, RIM’s global workforce is expected to be approximately 17,000 people.  Additional information about the financial impact of this workforce reduction and other operating expense reductions will be communicated when the company reports Q2 results on September 15, 2011. As explained on June 16, 2011, any one-time charges associated with the cost optimization program are not included in RIM’s Q2 and full year outlook, but will be identified and disclosed on September 15, 2011.

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