RIM Co-CEOs Step Down, Former Co-COO Appointed CEO

Will Connors and Chip Cummins for The Wall Street Journal:

After 20 years together at the helm of Research In Motion Ltd., Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the company's co-chief executives, turned over the top job late Sunday to a little-known insider as part of a board and management shuffle.

Balsillie and Lazaridis will retain senior roles on the company's board and as significant shareholders, thus indicating the duo intend to remain influential over the company's decisions and planning for the foreseeable future.

Thorsten Heins, former co-COO, has been appointed new CEO.

Immediately, Heins has issued a fairly short-sighted vision that RIM is on the right track. At the same time, Heins has also suggested that he'd be open to licensing BlackBerry 10.

This contradiction is an endorsement of a view outlined by Dan Frommer:

Unless Heins is secretly a rare, freakish visionary genius whose creativity has been stifled by his former bosses for all these years — he’s been at RIM since 2007, right when it started to get into trouble — he’s not going to save the company from its decline.

Although it's good to see the RIM acting to correct the widespread discontent with the company's management, I'm not convinced promoting the COO is the right course of action. RIM needs a true shake up, and merely moving the former co-CEOs to the board and promoting the COO is unlikely to truly impact the company in the way the board might hope.

Frommer has it right:

Two things could save RIM now: A sale or a miracle.