After months of investors unrest, Research In Motion on Sunday announced that Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were stepping down from their roles as co-CEO and co-Chairmen. Barbara Stymiest was named RIM’s new chairperson of the board, in line with rumors, and former Ericsson executive Thorsten Heins was named president and CEO. Heins and Stymiest hosted a conference call Monday morning, with Heins leading the show, and the company took its first steps in a long climb toward regaining shareholder confidence and customer confidence. Read on for more.
“I pledge to do everything possible to exceed the expectations of the company’s shareholders,” Heins said Monday morning on a conference call. Pointing to RIM’s customer base of more than 75 million users and its next-generation QNX-based platform, the new CEO seems intent on following RIM’s current path on a broad level. He feels that RIM is still innovating and its QNX-based platform and upcoming devices will carry the company into the future.
RIM’s new CEO also praised Mike Lazaridis for acquiring what he views as one of the company’s most important assets: QNX. Heins says QNX is an extremely flexible platform that will already well established in a number of industries. Moving forward, the powerful platform will allow RIM to quickly address new industries as opportunities arise but in the near-term, it will combine with RIM’s other software solutions to create what Heins believes will be a fantastic BlackBerry 10 experience.
Heins isn’t sitting still, however. He identified RIM’s marketing department as in need of an overhaul right away, and he sees marketing in the U.S. as a particular pain point. The company is actively seeking a new Chief Marketing Officer and it hopes to completely revamp its approach in several markets. Heins also wants to focus on resource planning, project and program management and execution in general as areas where RIM needs realignment if it hopes to succeed in the modern smartphone market.
RIM was up as much as 4% in pre-market trading on Monday morning, but the stock was down roughly 1% immediately following the conclusion of the company’s investor call. A video interview with Heins follows below.