RIM may be replacing its CEOs

first_imgRIM has seen better days. Pre-iPhone, circa 2006, the Blackberry was the premium smartphone to have. That all changed in the summer of 2007, when Apple’s first handset launched and it began to turn the market upside down. RIM’s market share has been steadily dropping for the last few years, with no end in sight. The company’s co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, haven’t been able to stop the hemorrhaging, yet they’ve kept their jobs. Things, however, may be changing. The company is reportedly considering replacing the two as chairmen of the board.The two co-founders have previously been hesitant to relinquish their titles as chairmen, so they won’t likely be eager to yield. They own a combined 12% of the company and are the second and third largest RIM shareholders.The frontrunner to replace Lazaridis and Balsillie as chair is Barbara Stymiest. The 55-year-old independent director is a former COO of Royal Bank of Canada; she has been a RIM board member since 2007 (as it happens, the beginning of the company’s decline).The move is a suggestion of an independent committee (including Stymiest) that was created to examine the company’s board structure. One of the committee’s tasks was to weigh the pros and cons of the checks and balances of having an independent chair vs. the efficiency of having CEOs and chairmen one and the same.Whatever RIM’s board ultimately decides on, it would need a blood transfusion in order to thrive again. While declining market share is the end result, it doesn’t take a genius to see the lack of vision that caused it. While the iPhone (and later Android) shifted the smartphone industry to multitouch devices, Blackberry products have stayed largely the same since the mid 2000’s. Inside sources have said that the CEOs have insisted on features like an upgraded speakerphone to make their products stand out.Despite facing its worst year in 2011 — with stocks falling 75% — the company doesn’t appear to have learned much. The CEOs are now putting their stock in the next version of the Blackberry software, BB 10, as a saving grace. This is the same software that ran on the Blackberry Playbook, one of tech’s biggest disappointments of 2011.via Financial Postlast_img

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