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By 23 January 2012 | Categories: news

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In one of the biggest shake-ups in the mobile space to date this year, it was announced yesterday that RIM’s co-chief executive officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis will be replaced by the company’s former chief operating officer Thorsten Heins as president and CEO.

The company’s Board of Directors (BoD) explained that the unanimous decision was made  on the recommendation of Balsillie and Lazaridis. Heins was also appointed to RIM’s BoD and both these appointments are effective immediately.

According to Lazaridis, the motivation behind this move from co-chair to VC of the Board was done to focus on what is most important: “the great company we have built, its iconic products, global brand and its talented employees.” For his part Heins said that, “Mike created a whole new way of communicating and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration.”

Mike Lazaridis, former RIM co-Chair and co-CEO, now continues in a new role of vice chair of RIM’s BoD as well as chair of the BoD’s new Innovation Committee. The company stated that Lazaridis will work closely with Heins in order to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand around the globe.

RIM’s other co-chair and co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, will remain on the Canadian firm’s BoD. “I agree this is the right time to pass the baton to new leadership, and I have complete confidence in Thorsten, the management team and the company,” Balsillie said. “I remain a significant shareholder and a Director and, of course, they will have my full support.”

It is a move that comes as little surprise. RIM saw investor confidence and its share price rise just on speculation that several companies were considering acquiring the beleaguered company. The Canadian smartphone and tablet maker has had its fair share of troubles, which began with the BlackBerry Blackout saga, and continued with legal action over the BBX naming rights, as well as the delayed launch of PlayBook OS 2.0.

Besides revealing the new CEO and president, RIM also announced that Barbara Stymiest, who has been a member of RIM’s BoD since 2007, has now been named the independent board chair.
 
Prior to the appointment of its new president and CEO, the latest RIM related news was that Korean tech giant Samsung was considering acquiring the Canadian company, a rumour that  Samsung has pointedly denied.

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