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BlackBerry Co-CEOs Step Down, Names Thorsten Heins as new President and CEO

By Seow Tein Hee - on 23 Jan 2012, 10:35am

BlackBerry Co-CEOs Step Down, Names Thorsten Heins as new President and CEO

Source: Research in Motion

This week, the Board of Directors of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has acted on its Co-Chief Executive Officers recommendation and appointed Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Office with immediate effect.

Mike Lazaridis, former Co-Chair and Co-CEO, has become Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee. As Vice Chair, he will work closely with Mr. Heins to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide. The company's other CEO, Jim Balsillie remains a member of the Board.

With the recent spate of hiccups, including a major BlackBerry outage and a lackluster BlackBerry PlayBook sales number plaguing the company, this transition is aimed to regain both investor and consumer confidence in the company. According to Lazaridis, the move from Co-Chair to Vice Chair of the Board is made in the hopes of returning the public's focus to what is most important: “the great company we have built, its iconic products, global brand and its talented employees.”

Even with the recent incidents, RIM is looking at some good numbers. According to Heins, the company has a strong balance sheet with approximately $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and negligible debt. Its subscriber base has also seen a 35% year-to-year increase, totaling over 75 million as of now.

Will this recent management change affect the roll out of BlackBerry 10 devices within 2012? We highly doubt so, given that BlackBerry 10 will be showcased at MWC 2012. However, we won't be expecting any BlackBerry 10 devices within the first half of 2012.