RIM board looking to replace co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie as chairman?

By Adam Zeis on 3 Jan 2012 10:10 am EST

RIM Board Jim and Mike

The Financial Post is reporting that the RIM board may soon be looking to replace co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie as chairman. According to the report, RIM is facing constant pressure from the shareholders and is looking to replace the current co-chairman roles with Barbara Stymiest, an independent director who joined RIM's board back in 2007. A committee of independent directors have been examining the structure of RIM's board, and while Lazaridis and Balsille would remain co-CEOs, a single chairman would take their place on the board of directors.

What are your thoughts? Would this be a good move for RIM? Sound off in the comments!

Source: Financial Post

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

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RIM board looking to replace co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie as chairman?


If the rumor is true, a woman in charge of RIM, would be amazing. We see too many men and guys owning/running as chair. Time to see the ladies have the chance to do something for once. :)

All the comments below saying RIM is going out/bankrupt/being sold/bought off/dying are just non-appreciative and probably don't care if 17,000+ people lose their jobs. Like really? What if you lost yours? You would then be regreting what you've been saying. ;)

These two have brought this amazing company so far, but RIM is at a point where it has to shift gears to survive. This can only be a good thing for the Blackberry brand.

Investors seem to like the idea. RIM stock is up almost 6%!

The greatest thing for RIM would be if they can hire Mark Hurd as their new CEO!

actually, he is well thought of by the Tech world for his performance at HP. He was fired by a dysfunctional board for something that was ultimately proven to be untrue and extremely exaggerated. That's why Oracle scooped him up for a senior position immediately after he was fired.
I think he would make a great choice.

Stocks already up just on a rumor, what a joke how the stock market works. It's all just pure speculation/gambling.

RIM has to learn the game of paying mass media to get better publicity and marketing or they should consider going back to being privately owned and continue doing whatever they want without the pressure.


so true what you say here (:
i realy like them but i do tink the neet to be replaced RIM neets a new look

No, it's coming sooner than that.

An independent management review has been underway for the past few months, and will be issuing a public report to RIM's board at the end of January.

I suspect any changes will be announced around then.

(btw, worth remembering that both Balsillie and Lazaridus each owns 10% of RIM stock, and each likely influences the voting of a great deal more...)

So would this make their phones compete directly with the iPhone and onslaught of hundreds of Android manufacturers that kick out a new phone every 3 months? Would it mean their BB10 phones are suddenly released?

Is this the end all be all solution to all things surrounding the BlackBerry line? Will it suddenly be popular to rock a BlackBerry phone? When you post BlackBerry related topics on your Facebook, will people still taunt you?

I'm confused, seems there will still be some major problems to get over and I feel I'm too stupid to understand how this will solve anything.

It's more optics than anything. Investors have been calling for board shuffling and this should answer some calls on the surface.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

No one is saying having a separate chairman is suddenly going to make all RIM's issues go away. Sarcasm or no, one alteration can lead to another, which can lead to more.

Additionally, fresh thinking in a position of power can make a very large difference.

Think about Apple.

When I was a kid, the only thing Apple computers really had going for them was they were "friendlier" and less daunting than the PC and Tandy computers with software you had to code to enjoy any of its benefits. Now it's a multiplatform media wonderhorse and one of the most successful companies on Earth. Many attribute this success to Steve Jobs' forward thinking and leadership.

Granted, his efforts weren't the only ones involved, but with a person or group of people one can actually see following, it's easier for positive changes to occur.

It will take time, but this may be the first real step in the journey.

Ordering 1.5 million Playbooks, apparently mostly 16gb and targeting Apple customers instead of 70 million Blackberry customers wasn't successful!
Lots of poor management decisions have been made. This has caused larger investors to lose faith in management. I think RIMM is back on track. BUT, investors want a change of management.
I wish RIMM all possible success. Sadly, a change in management is essential!

Might temporarily impact shares, but its really not gonna make that big of a difference! Sorry RIM needs to completely clean house! Otherwise its nothing more then a slight cosmetic change!
Sent from my 9810

I totally agree. RIM needs to remove them totally. And they shouldn't mind....I am sure both Jim and Mike have tons of stock and the value of that stock will go way up when they are dumped. So win win for them.

I think it would be a good move but a relatively insignificant move. It should improve the relationship with the investors which is in big trouble right now, but it won't really change anything from the viewpoint of the consumer.

I respect the CEO duo, but they made a lot of mistakes lately and they need to step down pretty fast . If this is just a cosmetic change, then notshing will change and I am afraid the mistakes will continue. RIM needs an almost flawless 2012 in order to stay relevant... I really hope for a change, but a real one, not just to shut the investors up.

Im not sure this will help if they are still in executive rolls they are still involved in the day to day operations

And the shareholders aka Mike & Jim can fire the Chairman of the Board ;)

Do you realy think they would appoint someone as chairman/chairwoman who doesn't support them?

Such a change will mean very little in terms of the corporate governance, but it could have a positive (even if entirely symbolic) impact on the public's perception of RIM.

Es patético lo que están haciendo estos dos señores. La ambición y el poder evidentemente juegan un papel preponderante en la administración y gobernación de RIM. Hace ya bastante tiempo tendrían que haber renunciado, cuando empezaron a bajar los niveles de ventas y posterior crisis, ya tendrían que haberlo hecho. Me parece muy acertada la decisión de cambiar de ejecutivo y que se valorice la presencia ejecutiva femenina en la administración RIM. Saludos desde Argentina!

Hi there
Estoy completamente de acuerdo debieron renunciar al menos dos años atras ,pero es de notar que este cambio seria puramente simbolico porque estos dos payasos corporativos
seguiran imbolucrados en las operaciones diarias de RIM

La solucion seria que estos dos personajes desaparecieran de RIM
y le dieran paso a nuevas ideas que le debuelban a esta gran
compañia la credibilidad el respeto que en algun momento tuvo

What a bunch of crap.

I think it would be a great FU if RIM just decided to go private again.

The pressure from shareholders can be a good thing, but the audaicious spinning from the media is directing shareholders and public opinion into the ground.

I know it would never happen, but haven't you ever wanted to tell off your boss?

Hey, this is BlackBerry you're talking about. Mike and Jim have decreed that if you are going to use a BB, you have to accept that you will either not get the apps most people want, or you will get at best workarounds and/or third-rate imitations. So you must be happy with ReelPortal instead of Skype and Kobo instead of Kindle on your PlayBook and Angry Farm instead of Angry Birds on your Bold. Netflix on your Bold? HA! Next thing you know, you'll be asking for the ability to see and/or upload Facebook videos on your Bold. Mike and Jim won't allow that.

I think that it would be a really good change for the company. Let's get some female power in there and start getting the product out there, and get BB10 off and running, like right now!

Way past time for this. These two had way too much power and went unchecked and the results speak for themselves. The late moves transition from BBOS to something else after Apple and Google changed the smartphone landscape combined with the terribly slow pace of the transition is killing RIM in the US. Sure they've been able to mask the US losses with growth in developing markets, but even the next quarter numbers show that trend isn't going to continue. The entire Board needs to be wiped out too and be replaced with people not hand picked by these guys. Mike needs to stay as he provides value add, but Jim is nothing more than a used car salesman running a major corporation.

I think it's a good move only if she (the newly proposed chairperson) can act independently and without influence from the co-CEO's. This is only 1 of many steps that RIM needs to take however to turn the RIM ship around.

Is anyone reading this blog post properly? I think not, a few wise words from o' Gregory House played by Hugh Laurie, "You're all idiots."

Did someone considered here that these "co-CEOs" owned 15% of RIM? who will resign and leave?even for RIM's well being?Not sure about the good strategy before RIM's board take back to them (or to another investor group) or down low that percentage.A good start anyway

She's a financial strategist and risk management person. Probably what the business side of RIM needs, but I can't say what that will do for company morale, innovation, and marketing. Putting money people in charge is seldom a good thing. I see no mobile or tech in her history. Does she have vision?

Yes, I agree with you on the financial strategist/risk management. The most she can do is revise Operation by Centralizing/Decentralizing organisation, lay off a few thousand heads and such to minimize risk.

RIM needs a gambler. RIM needs a visionary leader not another Financier.

Could be good or bad. Time will tell. People who want change never consider change can be good or bad. Lets look at the possibilities.

a. stock price goes up, product improves.

b. stock price goes up, product remains steady or declines.

c. stock price goes up, company is taken over or sold off for a profit.

d. stock price goes down, continue to make minimal profits.

e. stock price goes down, start losing money, file for bankruptcy. Assets sold off to cover debts.

So whatever happens time will tell, could be the rebirth of Blackberry or could be it's death.

disclosure: I have no position in RIMM at this time or in the near future. Only invest in the markets what you are willing to lose. Consult with your professional market manager.

It is about time! Don't get me wrong these two have done a great job in the past but their ideas seem so dated and behind the rest of the market now with no signs of changing for a few years now. RIM went from the #1 share of the smart phone market to 3rd in the blink of an eye and now with the great technology behind the new Windows phones the are bound to lose the #3 spot unless major changes are seen. This could have not come at a better time, I just hope the talks are true.

I would prefer the opposite - leave them as co-chairmen, but put a signle, strong CEO in place. I know RIM is trying to polish everything to perfection before releasing, be it a new hardware or software. But there have been so many delays and mistakes combined - somebody needs to organize this company better. So it can adhere to deadlines, have a better communication strategy and exercise their negotiating power with the suppliers.

I hope that they will get their act together in 2012 :)

I might tend to agree that RIM tries to polish the hardware, but the guy in charge to polish BBOS 7 must have been blind!

Did someone considered here that these "co-CEOs" owned 15% of RIM? who will resign and leave?even for RIM's well being?Not sure about the good strategy before RIM's board take back to them (or to another investor group) or down low that percentage.A good start anyway

Remember when Jim Balsillie was looking to purchase and move an NHL team to the Toronto area about this time last year? He was so preoccupied with this thought, that he lost focus on his company and he and RIM and the rest of us are suffering. Agreed....time for these guys to go or at least take a back seat.

I think I speak for most of us when I say "Fi-na-lly!"

WAIT - Just re-read the article. So they would remain co-CEOs? Oh, HeII no!!!! These jokers have got to go.

Oh my god, are you people really that stupid. To replace these two would be a disaster. Just stop and think why you use the (old fashioned Blackberries over the bling phones) here is some help for you.
1) the best communication device in the world
2) BBM
3) Quality build
4) The best security by far
5) Push technology
etc etc
Sure this past year they fell down on some promises, but think about it they launched a Tablet and operating system. OS7 and several new phone models from full touch screen to flip phone. Not sure on exact figures but I believe there are seven new phones. Remember that this is from a company that does it all in house both hardware and software.
Just another thought for you about what happens when you bring in new people wih new ideas, look at HP. Company brings in WebOS, Then his succesor invests in the building of a tablet and going forward with what was, lets face it a good system. Then along comes new CEO (Yeah) gives away all the tablets and says system is for sale, Result company lost a shit load of money and fired CEO with a big bonus for failing in style. New CEO then messes around for a few months while spending money. Tries to sell webOS for too much money and system dies yet again. So net result is we lose a good system and tablet, CEO's come and go. Millions of Dollars gets spent and we have nothing to show for it.
Apple by the way while Blackberry was doing nothing according to everybody, re-badged the iphone4 with an S. this apparently is to denote the people who are paying Apple to beta test voice software.
O.K. now no more ranting from me. Look we are being critical of a company that provides us with the best products in the market place ?. Just bwhat vare they guilty of ? Only thing I can see is by trying to do way too much, but what else can they do. Blacberry users are generally more demanding and require a serious commun ications tool were'as android users just need two tins a piece of string and a games machine. Sit down for a minute and think about what would be reasonable to expect from blacberries this year, remember they have to doit all.
1) Playbook OS2 with native email for people who leave their cell phone at home and take their playbook with them.
2) Two OS10 phones (1 touch only/1 touch keyboard)
and that would be exceptional for a company that size that still as to maintain its existing OS systems and hardware.
Oh I almost forgot, I have spent the last 10 months reading what I now realize is crap about how the playbook is a failed tablet and the reason? Apps in gereral and angry birds in particular. Well we now have angry birds and yes I did buy it, so now I know the playbook would have failed because we did not have a crap game that looks exactly like frogger. Do they pay these people who write these reviews. Blackberry and RIM are fine, they need to focus more, but they dont need to be ruined by scare mongers and idiots. Remember blackberries share of the market is increasing all across the world except for the US.

I totally agree with you. Unless the fresh blood is coming with the vision of still developing dependable phones rather than. Competing with Apple but yet still improving the OS I would rather stick it out with the old guys.

If they turn the blackberry phone into a play phone I'm sad to say that I would have to move on to a platfomr like Windows.

Quality??? Really??? The last phone RIM put out without major quality issues what the original curve. I restart my BB three times a day.... The phones suck....

Drop it to the floor... and drop an iphone at the same time... then you will understand the meaning of RIM Quality... if you have some issues with the OS it's easy to go to the forums and see what is the OS version that fits better por your device...

I've done that B4 to prove a point to some iPhone users who were giving me a hard time about my BB. There was no damage to my phone. Meanwhile they were too scared to do the same with their phones, even though they had on Otter Boxes & my phone was naked....no case needed to hide my beutiful phone

No dumb ass... the quality of the phones suck. I'm not talking about user error from dropping a phone. I'm talking about bad keyboards, bad track pads, terrible browser programs, bad OS versions bad apps, phones that restart randomly, bad antennas, piss poor public relations.

The storms, the tour and the bolds suck ass. The reason everyone is leaving for iPhones and droids is because they ARE GOOD PHONES! Smoke coming from RIM HQ... where you see smoke, that usually means a fire... RIM put out junk for the last three years. Now they're reaping what they sewn....

RIM lost the loyalty. RIM lost the consumer confidence.

Don't get me wrong... I wish the company would get their act together. I love the push technology, the docs 2 go programs and the keypads (when they work) but it's been too long and too hard of battle. I'm dealing with bold with bad keys... when I txt the letters that populate on the screen aren't the letters i pressed on the keypad. I've only had this phone for 8 months. But what makes things worse, I'm coming off a tour that was hell!! Restarts in the middle of client phone calls, freezing when i took it out of the holster, bad track pad, horrible browser. GPS program that didn't work when I was on the road traveling. it's too much!! I spend too much money to get crap like that.

You guys must be working for RIM if you don't agree.

This post lost all credibility once you stated, "Blackberry and RIM are fine". They are not fine and you will see just how bad when OS 2.0 fails to live up to the hype and the BBOS10 device fails to deliver later this year.

IF that happens we CB & the rest of the BB nation are screwed.

HOWEVER, I think that OS 2.0 will do fine because it's beta is already winning lots of rave reviews.

That just leaves BBX/BB10....Lets hope it comes out in Sept & is a big Success as it "Leapfrog's the competition"

Is that Kool-Aid you've been drinking Cherry or Grape? Maybe you're trying dispense the newest Kool-Aid flavor: BlackBerry!

I totally agree with you. It's true that there are things they need to improve. However if you look at all they have done in the past 18 months you have to be impressed.

It is time to put some new blood in there. I love my BB and PB would hate to see the company go by the wayside.

Does the ghost of Nortel ring any bells here? "Outside" talent, most of it American, was brought in to put things on the right track. I am sure you are quite familiar with how that one worked out.

If not, I will refresh your memory: there was a revolving door of CEOs, CFOs and what have you, some of whom still have criminal cases winding through the courts.

Whatever shortcomings the incumbents have, they do have a proprietary interest in RIM and shown themselves quite willing to fight it out in the trenches and turn RIM around.

And by the way, RIM is still very profitable.

In it's worst year, as analyst and media would surmise, RIM will record revenue aroung $19 Billion and Net Income of $1.7 Billion.

Remember Nortel lost billions over a decade, similar to Palm, there are no comparisons to RIM, lets revisit this in five years.

RIM is on its way back to recapture it's lost market share much to the chargrin of the Tech media

Honestly I don't have an opinion. For all we know it is the mid level management that needs axed. Longstory short they need to show face this year. All the attention the new bold is getting is a really good start.

As far as this chairman change, I will share my opinion when I see something improve which will start with keeping promises.

We need better communications and the ability to meet deadlines. The Playbook came out with either promises or implied promises depending on your view point. We have waited and waited for "leaked" deadlines that were never met and with features promised or implied never materializing. What RIM needs is the become once again a corporation that can deliver on time. If this means creating a new position or removing people from positions then they need to do it. Waiting almost a year for the Playbook to become what we were believing we were paying for is causing so many to abandon Blackberry products as their contracts expire. I love my blackberry phone and my playbook, but if i had been given a crystal ball I would not have spent $600 on a playbook but would have bought the IPad2. In the spring my contract with ATT will allow me to change phones. If RIM has not gotten its act together by then I will consider what phones and tablets that other companies will be selling at that time. I think many loyal BB users also feel this way or some have already jumped off the RIM wagon.

The board should remove them as co-CEO as well. I honestly think they lack the skills necessary to get them back on track. Were they the right guys to start the company? Yes, but they don't have the skills necessary to lead a big company in an increasingly competitive industry.

Sometimes Founders' greatest hurdle is to realize when they are no longer fit to lead the Company they built.

RIM lost their way when they stopped being RIM and tried to be like Apple.... The storm was a disaster, the playbook - failure.... They need to apologize for putting out sh*tty phones like the bold 9650. They need to focus in on quality control. Stop putting out devices that break in less than a year. Stop putting out phones with bad charger ports, bad keyboards, slow processors and bad software/apps. How many blackberry apps freeze up the phone and don't work??? Apple and Android don't put apps out like that. I'm sorry... this company may not fail this year but as peoples phone contacts come up for renewal... they won't be picking a blackberry. (Reminds me of GM, Ford & Chrysler... got too big and cocky. Then the Japanese auto makers took them out)

Rim needs to remove them as CEO, not just on the board. From my understanding the board is just accountable to shareholders and finance while the CEO still handles day to day and future business plans.

i honestly think if we have change at this moment , and lets just say it happens , by summer , whoever in charge is getting praised or hate . i want the co-ceos to stay the way they are . they already up down their foot and put their salary to 1 a year , thats saying alot of how much theyre willing to see their through . i think you guys having seen what they have done for us as a company and a brand . why we are still berry users . enough said .

Mike should go and Jim should stay and here's why:

Jim shows confidence and great leadership. He looks sharp and ready to handle all the tough questions. He has the potential to being a standalone CEO. He did a great publicity show with the Coyote hockey team purchase and he has a strong presence with the international community like the work he's done with the U.N.

Mike likes to run the show but stumbles on his speech and show lack of confidence. There's been many blogs critiquing his stage presence and they are never positive. He's been beaten up hard hitting questions and allowed the press to get away writing articles that can potentially destroy the company into pieces.

Mike’s strength has never been with public speaking. That is why he brought in Jim years ago. BUT what he is, is a technological genius….He is able to identify what chips ect would work the best with each device. Experts say that technically BB’s are superior than their counterparts. Who do you think it was that identified QNX as a great kernel for the new OS? I bet it was him. The problem is that being technically superior is only 1 part of the solution.

….Oh & btw everyone keeps going on about getting rid of him as CO-CEO. Personally I’m more worried about him being CMO. The public has always been his biggest weakness. He should not have replaced the old CMO when he left (to Samsung wasn’t it?) I say keep the CEO’s but get a Great CMO.

It seems that the Board is as slow as the co-CEO's, well maybe not if they actually take action. This can only be good news, if they do it though.

I think the co-CEOs should be replaced by the Olsen Twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, who have both been featured in Crackberry Celebrity Sightings in the past.

Good or bad it's a done deal. Only thing I know for sure about RIM is that my 9900 suits me to a tee! I think they are heading in the right direction if they just have time... I sure hope so because I don't like anything else out there!

Can't belive no ones said this yet. Kevin for ceo! Come on people. We need a visionary, a leader, a voice of the people to lead blackberry back to grace. That is CrackBerry Kevin. Kev. Kevs. The Kevin. Blackberry fanboy #1. Who's with me damn it?!!

But if Kevin left to run RIM then who would take his place at CB? Mike & Jim as CO-Editors in Chief of Mobile Nations?

j/k lol

They should get a strong willed visionary to take the reigns of the company, this chair business is a band-aid solution. The chair, with Mike and Jim on the board, will be a facilitator. A man/woman with only a background in finance and risk is not good enough for this type of role.

They should look for a new leader with a deep hunger to be number one.

I think they should stay and here is why:
1. they built company with 75,000,000 mil users
2. they did not sell out.

The way i see it if they did not believe in rim and that they can turn it around they would just sell out and cash in millions. instead they have slashed their as to $1

i do not trust investors like that Jaguar investment fund that would want rim to be cut into pieces and sold. if they had their way they would destroy this icon if it meant extra few cents of profits.

i think rim will come back and i will enjoy physical keyboard and hopefully playbook for many years. i would hate to see all touch phones. this would honestly sucks

Changing the board structure does not change the direction of the company. It only makes it easier to change the management structure. So now it is even more likely that one or both coCEOs could be replaced due to board and shareholder pressure. I'm still voting against re-instating both of them. A new leader is needed to revive this company.

Worst thing I saw recently was an issue of Wired magazine highlighting the top 400 apps for smarthphones. In that issue, they indicate which apps work on Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone, with zero mention of BlackBerry anywhere in that issue. I noticed numerous apps that I run now on my 9650, many of which have updated versions for BB7. Conde Nast is the publishing empire behind Wired, and when I see them make no mention of BlackBerry, not even in a note to the past of smartphones, then I feel the platform is truly behind the times. I'm not a big fan of Wired, but quite a few people read that magazine. Second worse thing I saw on the newsstand was an issue of PCMag featuring tablets, with zero mention of the PlayBook, not even to diss it.

I'm really wondering why the board waited that long. This step is about 3-4 yrs overdue.

I think it's now time to buy RIM shares. The new CEO will polish the company for sale.

not sure if replacing them is the best idea,

who is to say anyone else is better suited to do there job?

seems more like a "show" to replace them and say things have "changed"

lets see what they can do in the coming year!

give em a chance,