RIM co-CEOs may be forced to relinquish co-Chairmen roles

Daniel Bader

January 3, 2012 10:40am

Based on the initial findings of a Corporate Governance review mandate issued last July, RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie may be forced to step down as co-chairs of the Board.

As we told you in mid-December, there have been calls by RIM investors for a change of governance, with five-year board member Barbara Stymiest leading the pack of candidates for new chairwoman. She “should step up and take the lead in making dramatic governance change,” according to Vic Alboini, Jaguar CEO and RIM investor. What is being called into question is the need, or “business necessity,” for a CEO (or in this case, two CEOs) to be chairmen of the board. This practice is less common in Canada and the U.K., but quite common in the U.S., a reason RIM claims as justification for maintaining the current hierarchy.

While this does not endanger the CEOs’ main roles of running the day-to-day operations of the company, the call to remove Lazaridis and Balsillie as chairs of the Board is the first step in what many see as a fundamental shake-up of the corporate nature within RIM. The common trope is that the company cannot continue the way it has been going; 2011 was a disastrous year for the company, whose stock price tumbled 75% amidst poor product launches and failed earnings expectations.

The co-CEOs, who together own 12% of the company’s total shares, have insisted on sticking to their guns regarding the new BlackBerry 10 OS, which is expected to debut in new smartphones in the second half of this year. Until then we will see a marketing blitz for existing BlackBerry 7 devices with renewed vigor.

The Corporate Governance review is expected to be submitted by the end of January, and there is no word on whether it encompasses, as some investors implore, a splitting of the company into separate divisions. We are only in the first days of 2012 and already RIM is back in the news. Let’s hope this will be the year they turn it all around.

Source: Financial Post

  • Jadis

    There is a saying:
    If a company is sick, generally the root cause is the people and culture, instead of product itself.

  • Dimitri K.

    Here come the bashers…

    Well anyways if they step down & the new Co-Ceo thinks he can make it better well then lets see. I still believe RIM Can survive if they just change a few little things. Changing CEOs will not do anything because if you think about it the next one will most likely either do the same or ruin the company.

    Hopefully RIM & the current CEO & the staff just need to changing a few things & boom. Also i suggest they add a few new futures & all. If RIM has 75million costumers now then i guess they can rise that wants they bring out the new Blackberry 10

    • JustMeAndMe

      I do agree that change of company management doesn’t change anything.

      I do not agree that RIM can survive.

  • nick m

    Who would buy a BB7 device now? Sales will probably be slow until BB10 so they better get that out fast.

    • Dimitri K.

      a lot of people buy BB7 right now because unlike us they are not techsavy & do not care. They do not care what cores & how much ram / memory they have. All they care about is to have the phone & use it as a phone…

    • badace

      I guess the question should be:”Who would buy a BB7 device AT FULL PRICE now?”

      How many friends do you have with new BB over the holidays?
      the Curve 9300 was on sale everywhere for $50; while the Samsung Ace (Android) was $75 and they ran out of ACE; while nobody was touching the 9300 (OS 6)

      Expect a 30% price reduction along the line:
      Newegg has the Nexus S unlocked shipped for $350 wich is a phone that will get Android 4. While:

      Curve 9360: $350
      Curve 9380: $380
      Style 9670: $400
      9780: $500
      Torch 9810 and 9900: %600

      Ot take your pick and get them for FREE on a 3yr contract with a minimum plan of $50… This is NOT a JOKE.

      They better start giving them for $0 on a one yr contract NOW.

  • Dyck Pound

    Finally change is coming to rim. They need to get out of the hardware business and focus on bbm across all platforms. Too much competition in hardware now.

    • Harvey McQueen

      I can code BBM over a weekend in my bedroom.

  • Mr Marquis

    Looks like Rim is heading in the same direction as hp’s palm pre.

  • Dyck Pound

    @Harvey so why don’t you quit your job and build a better bbm?

  • edubarr

    There are many BBM alternatives for all platforms. The thing that differentiates BBM is the way it works along with RIM’s push technology which isn’t available to other devices. Although android and iOS provide similar push services, it is not the same. But there are draw backs to RIM’s approach as well (remember the BB blackout in October). Bottom line, there’s no future for RIM by bringing BBM to other platforms.

  • Peter

    They need to be fired all together and get some real CEO’s than maybe maybe RIM could make it

  • zzZZzz

    In my opinion, prices should decrease for their devices. Stop making many series of devices. There are too many bolds, too many curves, too many torches on the market. And the new bb10 devices are all gonna have different names which will be confusing for customers.

    Keep it cheaper to buy, simpler to differentiate, up to date products.

  • Kman

    Too many devices, all of which are technically far inferior to the prices of comparably priced competitors.
    Ominous issues delaying release of products that have a hope of closing the gap.
    Senior corporate leadership that seems to be stuck in 2007.

    They are where palm was before they died, but also where apple was in 2007-8. They need a Steve Jobs rescue like Apple got. I don’t see it coming from the current crew however. Without some drastic change they are screwed.

  • Richie

    I agree, they need a CEO change ASAP!! the leadership and culture employee’s everything in that company the moral just STINKS! i remember meeting a few employee’s that carried an Iphone as there personal device :S. As a former TELUS employee i can tell you a lot of people get frustrated with blackberry and as a salesrep you always asked well why not switch to another device common answer: “I CANT DO WITHOUT MY BBM” so yes they have a strength that no other company has. I think they do need a Steve Jobs but most importantly if you see the company failing that bad. LET GOOGLE BUY IT! RIM cant fail it has great technology for business’s but Apple and Google are catching up REAAAAAAAAAALLLY FAST! well see what this year does for RIM.