Ontario, Jan 23: After last week's shock exit of Jerry Yang from Yahoo, this week in yet another surprise move, Research In Motion's (RIM) Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have called it quits from the post of co-CEOs and co-chairmen. The reason for the exit is considered to be investor pressure. They will most likely hand over the top job to an insider. The news comes as a major upset to the BlackBerry maker.
In a statement given out by RIM, the top job will be entrusted with Thorsten Heins wo joined the company in 2007. He quickly rose to the upper reigns of the management and have now become the new CEO.
The new management shift will see an end to the two-decade partnership of Lazaridis and Balsillie that is going through tough times with stiff competition from Apple and Google. Investors have been rooting for an "transformational" leader who had the capability to revitalize RIM's product line. Heins inception, however has elicited only a lukewarm reception.
The once successful pair built Lazaridis' 1985 start-up slowly transforming it into a global business with $20 billion in sales last year. With sweeping changes in technology and the involvement of global leaders, of the likes of Apple's iPhone and the various devices powered by Google's innovative Android system, RIM found it hard to keep it afloat in the tide.
Lazaridis, speaking in an interview at the RIM's Waterloo headquarters has been quoted as saying, "There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership. Jim and I went to the board and told them that we thought that time was now."
The duo of Lazaridis and Balsillie, are two of RIMs three largest shareholders with more than 5 percent each. They will remain as board members, with Lazaridis also essaying the role of vice-chair and head of a newly created innovation committee.
RIM wants to paint a pretty picture citing this move as a orderly transition on a succession plan that was in the agenda a year ago. The company faces a major dent in their credibility when the RIM faced a damaging outage of much of its network last year.