Press Release: Research In Motion Appoints New Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer

By Adam Zeis on 8 May 2012 09:04 am EDT

It looks like RIM CEO Thorstein Heins wasn't kidding when he said he was close to signing a deal to bring aboard a new CMO. Today RIM has announced the addition of both a COO and CMO to its leadership team. Kristian Tear (formerly of Sony) and Frank Boulben (formerly of LightSquared) are joining RIM as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer respectively. It looks like the two will make a great addition to RIM and help lead the way to great things from BlackBerry 10!

Press Release

Wireless Industry Veterans Kristian Tear and Frank Boulben to Join RIM

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 8, 2012) - Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced key additions to its executive leadership team with the hiring of Kristian Tear as Chief Operating Officer and Frank Boulben as Chief Marketing Officer.

With deep experience in the mobile computing industry, Mr. Tear and Mr. Boulben will complement RIM's existing executive team as the company continues to focus on expanding its global customer base and prepares for the launch of its new BlackBerry 10 platform.

"Kristian and Frank bring extensive knowledge of the rapidly changing wireless global market and will help RIM as we sharpen our focus on delivering long-term value to our stakeholders," said Thorsten Heins, RIM's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Most importantly, both Kristian and Frank possess a keen understanding of the emerging trends in mobile communications and computing."

Mr. Tear joins RIM from Sony Mobile Communications, where he served as Executive Vice President. He previously held a variety of operational leadership positions with Ericsson in Europe, Asia and Latin America. At RIM, Mr. Tear will serve as Chief Operating Officer overseeing all operational functions for handhelds and services, including research and development, products, global sales, manufacturing and supply chain.

"RIM is an important player in the mobile industry and I am excited to be a part of its future," said Mr. Tear. "I look forward to working with the talented RIM employees and harnessing their ingenuity and creativity for the benefit of more than 77 million BlackBerry users around the world. I also look forward to helping RIM attract a brand new generation of BlackBerry users."

Mr. Boulben is the former Executive Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Sales for LightSquared. He joined LightSquared after serving as Global Director of Commercial Strategy for Vodafone Group and Executive Vice President of Brand and Consumer Marketing for Orange Group. Mr. Boulben will oversee global marketing efforts at RIM.

"RIM is a pioneer in the mobile world and the BlackBerry brand is a global icon," said Mr. Boulben. "We all know how fast the mobile arena evolves and with the BlackBerry 10 platform, I believe RIM will once again change the way individuals and enterprises engage with each other and the world around them. I could not resist the opportunity to be part of that transformation."

About Kristian Tear

Kristian Tear brings almost 25 years of wireless experience in general management, sales and marketing, services and operations within the telecommunications, infrastructure and consumer industries. Most recently, Kristian served as Executive Vice President at Sony Mobile Communications AB, a subsidiary of Sony Corp. Kristian served as a member of the Executive Management Team, as Chairman of the Board of Sony Mobile Inc Americas and Sony Mobile International AB. He was also Chairman of the Product Business Council, Chairman of the Accessories Business Unit, Board member of Sony Mobile Japan and China.

Previously, Mr. Tear also served as the Corporate Vice President of Sony Ericsson Western Europe based in Munich, with responsibility for the region Western Europe and Global Customer Accounts. Prior to that, he served as Corporate Vice President at Sony Ericsson Headquarters in London. From 1999-2005, he served as President and CEO of Ericsson in various regions and markets, including in South East Asia, Germany, Switzerland and Austria and Central America.

Mr. Tear holds a Masters Degree in Science from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and completed the Ericsson Executive MBA program at Columbia University in New York.

About Frank Boulben

Frank Boulben brings to RIM more than 20 years of international experience in the wireless industry with senior marketing and sales roles at global wireless carriers such as Vodafone and Orange. Most recently, he was the Executive Vice President for Strategy, Marketing and Sales for LightSquared. He was recruited as employee number two to create a new 4G-LTE nationwide wireless network in the United States.

Previously, Frank was the Director of Commercial Strategy for Vodafone Group, responsible for strategic marketing, customer insights and segmentation, pricing, customer investment optimization and roaming. Prior to Vodafone, Frank was the Executive Vice President for Brand and Consumer Marketing for Orange Group, responsible for brand and communications, consumer propositions, value-based marketing, which included pricing and customer investment optimization, customer insights and segmentation, CRM, product marketing and devices portfolio management.

Before joining Orange, Frank spent eight years working for Vivendi Universal, occupying several strategy and marketing roles for SFR and then as CEO of Vivendi Universal Internet division with a focus on mobile services. During 2005-2006, Frank served on the Board of the GSM Association (the world's largest trade association representing more than 800 wireless carriers in 219 countries) and was the Chairman of the Strategy Committee.

He holds diplomas from the École Polytechnique and from the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, where he studied mathematics, physics and economics.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Press Release: Research In Motion Appoints New Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer


Experience? The CMO is an industry guy from Europe. How exactly is this positioning RIM to address the issue of falling consumer sales in North America?

I'm loving what's coming with BB10 but RIM has clearly shown a lack of understanding of the marketing environment and the consumer. I'm really hoping that the new blood figures it out because a product this good doesn't deserve to wallow in the muck that is another "Be Bold" campaign.

Uh, the Swede is coming in as the COO, not the CMO. The new CMO has direct experience with American mobile carriers from his work with Lightsquared. We'll see how in-tune he is with American consumer sentiment though.

Not sure I would give much credit to someone for experience at the failed LightSquared project which is in dire straights financially. Hopefully they learned a lesson there.

the COO and CMO were lazy didnt want to get burned in the florida sun so they hid at bbworld ;) im certain they were there... hiding. hahaha

Only if this means they will make sure campaign worldwide will rock as much as NA campaigns.

Ads in Brasil are rare and truly useless...

Ya great pickups,

A guy who worked for a company that's lost market share faster then RIM - to head opeartions, and a guy who worked for a start-up that went lame out of the gates.

I didn't know the grammar police were out in full force today.

Maybe they should focus on the espionage running rampant on this site. Apple, Google and Microsoft love the BB 10 leaks the other day....

"individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information."

Yes, because they will change their plans on a dime to react to what RIM is doing.....

They are most lilkey Sh8tting their pants due to the fact that they possible have a competitor they didn't want to have.

The problem is that there are too many pessimistic complainers whenever RIM announces anything new. Doing exactly what you are doing, along with several other quick on the draw whiners on this very thread.

Yes, because my comment has such a huge impact on both RIM management and the share price. That is definitely the problem...

That said, I am happy to admit that I was wrong about this. The stock going up 2% on an otherwise bad day for the markets is nothing to sneeze at.

Oh look! The stock is going up.. Oh sorry. NOT..
Not sure what it takes to have good news in the eyes of Wall Street.

Edit: I may stand corrected here..

Rockin' the 9900

It takes quarterly statements that prove the company is doing something better. Wallstreet/Baystreet for the most part don't operate on flimsy expectations or rumors. They operate on numbers and the only time RIM will see a significant jump in shares price if if they perform on the spreadsheet. Plain and Simple.

Do not what world you live in that the market does not operate on Expectation... the whole system is built on expectation flimsy or not... Just look at how much Apple's stock tanked before they released their results... why because many in the Market expected Apple to miss the mark.... they off course did not.... They definately look at solid performance results which when released dictate the trading prices.... to think expectation does not matter is naive at best

Just because a company goes through a tough period, doesn't mean all of their employees are inept. I would think that Thorsten has a good idea of what he wants and these two fit the need. Its unfair to judge them prior to even seeing what they can do with RIM. Its like the NFL and signing rookies in the draft. Sometimes the 1st rounders get paid all the big bucks and don't do anything. Then you have some 4th - 7th rounders who end up being hall of famers.

Bottom line, give them a chance to build a body of work, then critique and judge all you want.

Great comment! I completely agree with you. The problem is that the analysts who influence the stock market are following this trend of tearing RIMM apart with any news they get. No matter if good or bad news they tend to find weak spots and use it against RIM.

But again. I agree with you to not judge these people by their companies success because there are many factors to the success or decline of a company.

You don't think there are ENOUGH RIM/Palm comparisons floating around right now?!

Rubinstein MIGHT have been okay as COO, given his engineering and purchasing experience, but nobody could have taken him--or RIM--seriously.

Besides, Rubinstein may be operating under a non-compete.

What's the advantage of hiring people coming out of a failed / failing company? It's that they know what didn't work!

people who have worked with troubled/failing companies have experiences those that come from successful companies haven't. This is probably a good thing and will get RIM to the net step.

Finally. Now lock the CMO and his team in a room and don't let him out until he comes up with awesome ideas for BB10 Marketing ideas. You have to get this right RIM.

Looking forward to the new blood shaking things up. I hope they shake this up FAST though as they really have no time to waste. I seriously hope the rumors of BB 10 devices not coming out until Oct are false and they come out much sooner. They really cannot afford to compete head on with the iPhone 5 release, IMO.

With a new CMO, I hope that means a LOT more advertising. To see a random commercial once a week is killing them. They need to be in people's faces ALL THE TIME, like Apple commercials.

Wouldn't hurt if they also started opening some (more) BlackBerry stores.... walking into a carrier store or Best Buy is a fracking joke, as those people will usually steer you away from a BlackBerry.

This is such great news! I am so looking forward to seeing the marketing that RIM needs oh so now! Go go go. Get the word going :)

Great news!!! The avengers initiative is complete now. Mighty Thor to lead the team. Let's rock and roll this!!!!!!!!
Just to spice it up a bit:
Thorstein heins as THOR
Saunders the HULK
Boulben as Iron Man
Tear as captain America

LightSquared is in the sh!tter because they didn't grease the palms of enough US Democrats. I bet if they would have donated a few million to Obama's campaign...

It's probably difficult for RIM to get people on board. The really qualified men or women go to Apple or Samsung. These guys deserve a chance anyway.

That's a pretty broad/sweeping statement. You might want to consider the possibility that there are extremely smart and qualified people living on the planet who do not want to/or are not interested in working for Apple or Samsung. Shocking, I know.

Great they have added people to the COO and CMO positions, can RIM get a move and release some decent upgrades or newer hardware?


Sometimes an ex employee of a company that didn't perform well enough, hits a home run with a second shot somewhere new.

I may question these new faces, but they deserve credit, after going through Mr.Thorstein.

RIM really needs to clean or repaint that sign.
Looks just plain bad.

Good luck to the two new guys. Hope they can do it.


Could this be a sign of Sony being the one who takes a stake in rim. Although rumors have put samsung as a suitor it seems to me that Sony may fit the bill much better considering they have suffered with tv sales and phone sales running android. BBx could be the tv driver as well as their future phones. Rim would then have a huge content library to draw from with Sony music and somy pictures and games

Who are these guys??? It appears no one with talent wants to get on this sinking ship. Oh well. Keep an eye out for more lame be bold, superhero or wake up campaigns. I got to admit though, they are good for a laugh.

O.K. now lets get going with a well planned and executed marketing campaign.
This guy has the right experience now lets see what he can do.

Its about time they brought someone out of the Bullpen (Boulben) to stop all of your Tear(s)...

Hopefully this works.

I'm excited that these positions are officially filled. Thorsten has made it seem to me that these are crucial positions for RIM moving forward. I know I'm going to be biased either way, but I really hope I see some top notch advertising soon. I also hope the COO had something to do with the Sony Xperia line because I love what it added to Windows Mobile and Android devices. We are seeing some big moves from RIM these days and I can't wait to see the end product...with the physical keyboard :)

I'm not sure what you mean that you loved what xperia did for Android and windows phone. Since the has never been and will never be a windows phone with a song logo on it (there's this whole playstation thing Sony does that makes them not want xbox live on their phones) are you saying xperia phones are so awful they are diving people to Windows Phone? Cause they are an also ran android oems at the moment and their 2012 line up seems like it's a good value but does not seem to be setting the world on fire.