| | 04-10-2012, 05:15 PM Thread Author #1
More RIM Execs Head for the Exit - Article
More RIM Execs Head for the Exit
By Damon Poeter April 10, 2012 04:25pm EST
More executives are leaving struggling smartphone maker Research in Motion, the company confirmed Tuesday.
Alistair Mitchell, former vice president of BBM Platform and Integrated Services, has already left RIM and Alan Brenner, senior vice president in charge of the BlackBerry Platform, will be leaving after a transitional period.
The new departures add to impression that RIM executives are fleeing for the exits. The BlackBerry maker has endured several disappointing financial quarters in a row as the company struggles to deal with the popularity of Apple's iPhone and smartphones based on Google's Android in the consumer market, even as those devices are increasingly invading the enterprise space once dominated by RIM.
In the most high profile departure, former co-CEO Jim Balsillie stepped down from his position on RIM's board of directors late last month. Balsillie and former co-CEO Mike Laziridis had stepped down in January to make way for newly minted president and chief executive Thorsten Heins, but Balsillie's decision to leave the company entirely was still surprising.
Last month, the company also parted ways with David Yach, its chief software technology officer, and Jim Rowan, chief operation officer for Global Operations.
And those were just the latest high-profile RIM employees to leave. The Motley Fool's Evan Niu this week offered up a pretty eye-opening list of executives who've left in the past year, starting with former chief marketing officer Keith Pardy in March 2011. All told, 11 C-level executives, senior directors, senior product managers, and vice presidents have bailed on RIM.
For his part, Heins is promising big changes at RIM in an effort to right the ship.
The BlackBerry maker plans to abandon efforts to penetrate certain consumer markets while refocusing on the enterprise and public sector segments where RIM maintains "a leading position," Heins said during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter and fiscal 2012 earnings.
RIM "was late to the 'bring your own device' movement," Heins said, explaining candidly that the company was caught off-guard under previous leadership by the growing presence of consumer-oriented smartphones like Apple's iPhone in managed IT environments once dominated by BlackBerry devices.
The company's future rests on its upcoming BlackBerry 10 (BB10) software platform for future handsets and tablets, he said, pledging that the new operating system was on schedule for release later this year and would be the foundation of RIM's business for years to come.
BlackBerry 10 is RIM's upcoming, QNX-based smartphone OS, which was originally supposed to be available early this year but has been delayed to the fall. In January, RIM said that BB10 will share developer tools and a screen aspect ratio with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
But if Heins promised a rosier future, he acknowledged that RIM's present troubles required "substantial change."
How bad is it? RIM posted a net loss of $125 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, with revenue of $4.2 billion slipping 19 percent from the third quarter and down 25 percent from the same period in the previous year. For the full year, RIM had sales of $18.4 billion, down 7 percent from the $19.9 billion in revenue it reported for its fiscal 2011.
For more from Damon, follow him on Twitter @dpoeter.
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