Change of guards at the ailing handset company. The board of directors of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion acting on the recommendation of its co-chief executive officers to implement the succession plan previously submitted to the Board, has unanimously named Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Heins was also appointed to RIM’s Board. Both appointments are effective immediately.
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.
Barbara Stymiest, who formerly served as a member of Royal Bank of Canada’s Group Executive and has been a member of RIM’s Board since 2007, has been named the independent Board Chair. John Richardson, formerly Lead Director, will remain on the Board. Prem Watsa, Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings, also was named to the Board, expanding it to 11 members.
Thorsten Heins, 54, has 27 years of broad experience and expertise in wireless networks and consumer electronics devices. Mr. Heins was one of RIM’s two Chief Operating Officers and, before that, Senior Vice President for the Handheld Business Unit. He came to RIM in December 2007 from the industrial conglomerate Siemens. He joined Siemens in 1984 after graduating from the University of Hannover in his native Germany.