Sunday, January 22, 2012

RIM leaders quit. Future remains uncertain.

So it's finally official. Research In Motion's co-CEOs and co-chairs Mike Laziridis and Jim Balsillie are stepping down from their posts (press release, WSJ, Globe & Mail, National Post). Current COO Thorsten Heins has been elevated to CEO, while former Royal Bank of Canada Barbara Stymiest becomes RIM's first-ever independent board chair. The now-former leaders will remain as members of the board.

What does it mean? Well, without much new products in the pipeline - new BlackBerry smartphones based on the next-generation BlackBerry 10 aren't due until the second half of this year, and the PlayBook is still languishing in the tablet-market equivalent of oblivion - not much. RIM needs renewal, and the leadership changes are only the first step in this process.

Worse, while I'm sure Mr. Heins is a superbly experienced industry vet - he was most recently RIM's COO, and has been in the telecom space for 30 years, including a stint as CTO at Siemens - he remains a RIM insider. If the company had been truly serious about reinventing itself, it would have looked to someone from either another company or another industry entirely. It's been done before - think Ford and ex-Boeing chief Alan Mullaly - and it could have been leveraged here, too.

I'll have lots to say on this in the days ahead, including a hit with CTV's Canada AM at 7 a.m. Eastern tomorrow (Monday). I'll add links to this entry as they hit the web.

Your turn: Thoughts?

Where I'm writing:

My articles for Yahoo! Canada:

Where I've been quoted/interviewed:

  • I chatted with Beverly Thomson on this morning's CTV Canada AM. Main story link here.
  • Spoke with CKCO Kitchener's Abigail Bimman via Skype for their 11:30 p.m. newscast.
  • Havard Gould included my comments in a piece he aired on CBC's The National.
  • Spoke with Kieron O'Dea for a piece for Global National.
  • Bantered with CTV News Channel's Jacqueline Milczarek and Dan Matheson.
  • Appeared on TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin.
  • Spoke with Aaron Rand of Montreal's CJAD, because radio in my old hometown is just that special.
  • I spoke with the Toronto Star. RIM's Mike Laziridis and Jim Balsillie resign. byline Michael Lewis.
Additional links/resources:


Unknown said...

Carmi: While I must confess to not knowing this man or this industry, you are correct. A company reinvention begins with a proverbial "clean slate". Otherwise it appears as if "business as usual" may prevail. To really send a cohesive message both within and outside of a company, I welcome a total change. Otherwise, it might just be tantamount to "window dressing". Just my opinion.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Interesting stuff. Nice to 'talk' to a 'proper' journalist, I am quite overawed! I see your output is prolific. A question. Is this blogging milarky your living if so how do yo get paid! And who pays' Sorry to be so direct/rude but my ancient,parochial existence has difficulty in grasping the 'real' world. Good luck and thanks for visiting my efforts!