The co-chief executives of Research in Motion, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, have stepped down from their roles, handing over the reins to Thorsten Heins. Mr Heins joined the company four years ago as a chief operating officer, and has previously worked for Siemens.
Mr. Lazaridis and Mr. Balsillie’s roles on the board have altered too, as instead of remaining co-chairman, Mr Lazaridis will become vice chairman and Mr Balsillie a board member. The pair will remain the company’s biggest shareholders though, with more then 5% each, plus Mr Lazaridis has announced plans to purchase another $50 million in shares soon.
Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry smartphone range, has been struggling to keep up with competition from Apple and Google recently, and the former co-CEOs have faced pressure to change the way the company is run, in order to try to reverse its falling stock price and disappearing market share.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the restructure was agreed by the board in December, with the group unanimously voting for Mr. Heins as the new CEO. Barbara Stymiest has become the board chairman and is quoted as saying the board is ‘very comfortable that this is a winning strategy.’
This marks the end of Lazaridis and Balsillie’s leadership of RIM, which has spanned nearly 30-years for Mr Lazaridis – who formed the company in 1984 – and 20 for Mr Balsillie, who joined as co-CEO in 1992.