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RIM’s new chairwoman promises shake-up isn’t over

Research In Motion’s newly appointed chairwoman of board Barbara Stymiest vowed on Thursday that the changes sweeping the struggling smartphone vendor will continue. RIM announced late last month that company co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were stepping down from their roles as co-CEOs and co-chairmen of the board following more than a year of investor unrest. Replacing them atop RIM’s management team was Thorsten Heins, and Barbara Stymiest was named chairwoman of the board. Heins got off to a rocky start but promised that more change was coming, and now Stymiest has gone on record making a similar vow that the shake-up at RIM isn’t over. Read on for more.

Investors including Jaguar Financial, one of several firms that had been very vocal leading up to last month’s corporate shuffle, have voiced concerns that with Balsillie and Lazaridis still on RIM’s board, the company hasn’t yet done enough to right the ship. RIM’s new chairwoman argues that RIM is is still a work in progress, and while more change is coming, she appears confident in the company’s new leadership.

“Driving change in an organization means a high-performing board and a high-quality management team,” Stymiest told Bloomberg Businessweek in an interview. “You get those two right and you can drive change quickly and effectively.”

As Heins did during a conference call with investors, Stymiest points to execution as a key area where RIM must focus. “We can improve on product execution and Thorsten is well-positioned to do that,” she said. Execution is of the utmost importance, of course, as RIM prepares to launch new breed of devices powered by the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The BlackBerry London is expected to launch late this fall as RIM’s first BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Stymiest appears confident that RIM can deliver. When asked by Businessweek if she planned to personally invest further in RIM, Stymiest replied, “I’m well exposed to RIM and continue to accumulate.” Former co-CEO and co-chairman Mike Lazaridis said he plans to invest an additional $50 million in RIM stock as a vote of confidence.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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