BlackBerry Founders Resign As co-CEOs, Thorsten Heins Takes Charge

Over the past few years it has become obvious how hard it has been for Research in Motion, the BlackBerry producer, to compete with Apple. The company has went a long way trying to come up with a business model that will successfully sell their gadget. Plus, the company faces upcoming hardships as BlackBerry founders decided to resign as co-CEOs and let Thorsten Heins take charge.

High management changes aren’t easy regardless of the company. Plus, such shifts in the dynamic of a firm are the more dangerous as founders are involved. However, at the moment, it’s arguable whether BlackBerry’s co-Chief Executive Officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have made the right decision.

Balsillie’s and Lazaridis’ resignations come after intense pressure from investors. Over the past years, RIM has been dramatically affected by competitors such as Apple and Google, while sales have plummeted and products lost visibility. In this context, investors were worried that a potential sale of the company would be problematic, particularly with RIM’s co-founders still in charge.

As a result, recently, investors have shifted focus to Thorsten Heins, a former Siemens AG executive, who has only 5 years experience within RIM. But, the short expertise within the Canadian company did not hold down investors to appoint Heins as CEO last Sunday.

Mike Lazaridis said in an interview that their resignation “marks the beginning of a new era for RIM. It was a bit of bumpy ride. We’ve done it as best we could. Thorsten is the ideal choice. He has the right skills at the right time”.

Analysts have different opinions on the matter, but it seems that one aspect is clear. Most of them don’t expect BlackBerry’s co-Chief Executive Officers’ resignations to change anything.

Ehud Gelglum, analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, believes “Heins is a product execution guy, he’s not a visionary. Heins has to give people a reason why they need a BlackBerry. It’s going to be very difficult for him”.

Charter Equity analyst Ed Snyder warns that Heins might not be the right choice and a similar opinion has Michael Urlocker, analyst with GMP Securities. Urlocker isn’t sure “that an engineer as new CEO really gets to the central issues faced by RIM”.

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Eli Wads is one of our expert authors in technology and business fields.Currently living in San Marino, Eli has graduated at Southwestern Academy with a Bachelor Degree in business in 2008. Contact him by dropping him an e-mail at

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