New RIM CEO Heins Takes Control of Sinking Ship

 
on January 23 2012 5:40 PM
Thorsten Heins, RIM CEO
Thorsten Heins took over as CEO at the BlackBerry maker on January 23 Reuters

Here's a good one you may not have heard unless you are a (disgruntled) Research in Motion investor. It's about new Research in Motion (RIM) CEO Thorsten Heins, and his insistence that there will be no drastic change at the struggling maker of BlackBerry.

Said Heins on Monday upon taking the job: I don't think that there is some drastic change needed. We are evolving ... but this is not a seismic change.

Heins, 54, has been with RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) since 2007, so he remembers the good old days -- when the BlackBerry was the smartphone king before Apple's iPhone and other competitors crushed it. The company has been a fast-sinking ship the past year, losing marketshare and investor confidence. RIM's co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsille resigned on Saturday due to that very pressure -- and the fact that the company's stock has sunk from a 52-week high of $70.54 to the teens.

So here comes Heins, who should understand that RIM needs drastic change and leadership in every direction. The company needs to make changes in product design, production and and in leaderhip and guidance. Otherwise, it will soon be sold off as scraps for investors still hanging on.

Heins told journalists during a conference call Monday in light of his new job leading RIM that he planned to sharpen the company's current strategy as opposed to abandoning it. In other words, he'll try to throw out the life rafts faster, since, if he doesn't do anything drastic, the RIM ship will keep on sinking.

Consider sentiment from the leader of a group of radical RIM investors.

If Thorsten really believes that there are no changes to be made, he will be gone within 15 to 18 months. He will be a transitional CEO and this will be a transitional board, said Jaguar CEO Vic Alboini, who leads an informal group of 16 RIM shareholders calling for a radical restructuring that holds less than 10 percent of RIM's stock, according to Reuters

And maybe that's the deal. Maybe the idea was that the villains -- the co-CEO's -- would step down, but a villain's accomplice would step in. Heins certainly doesn't talk like a man with a visionary leadership plan. Instead, he sounds like an accomplice.

Granted, the job just got dumped on him, but anybody can see that RIM needs radical restructuring. The company has done almost nothing right the past couple of years. It makes promises that don't deliver, and doesn't seem to understand what gadget consumers really want and need these days.

Heins' solution is to push the company to closer to the consumer, which could only be a good thing.

I want us to focus more on consumers and consumer marketing. That is a major change for us. That is an element that we need to strengthen, that we need to build, he said.

But at this point, that's not nearly enough for RIM -- which is why its stock dropped almost nine percent on the new leadership news on Monday. The company needs drastic changes, and nothign less, or RIM's sinking ship will soon be completely under water.

Share this article

More News from IBT MEDIA