RIM Chief Marketing Officer: Could this be him?

Gavin Kim - Potentially the new CMO at RIM?
By Chris Umiastowski on 18 Apr 2012 11:20 am EDT

Gavin Kim held the position of General Manager, Windows Phone Marketing at Microsoft for the last five months. Prior to that he was in a senior role at Samsung, in charge of consumer and enterprise services.

Microsoft has confirmed that Kim left Microsoft for personal reasons. For those unfamiliar, that just means he wasn't fired.

We know all too well how badly RIM needs a good Chief Marketing Officer. Thorsten has said this is a high priority. And on the last conference call, he said that RIM is close to hiring someone.

We haven't heard anything since then. Could Gavin Kim be RIM's new hire? If it is, the pitch from RIM must have been pretty strong to get the guy to leave Microsoft after only five months.

Hopefully we will find out soon enough what RIM is doing about marketing.

Reader comments

RIM Chief Marketing Officer: Could this be him?


If they appoint someone from Microsoft, I think that might be the final straw for me as far as owning RIM shares goes. Microsoft couldn't market it's way out of a paper bag. That had split down one side. With an Apple employee helping them.

Alec Saunders came from Microsoft. So you can either realize that people in the real world have jobs or you can act like a child and make-up grudges based on their employers.

I'm not making up grudges (or being childish), I'm basing it on Microsoft's appalling marketing campaigns for w7p and beyond. If you think I'm wrong then show me a decent Microsoft advert (frankly from ever) and/or produce some stats showing the overwhelming success of w7p.

As far as Alec Saunders goes, it's hardly been a success has it it! RIM are currently competing with Nokia as the worst run smartphone maker in the world.

If Microsoft were so appalling at marketing then how come they devoured the competition with office productivity software? While they were doing they took the server market away from Novell with their inferior product a desktop O/S dressed as a network operating system. Again they did it with collaboration MS Exchange is installed in more companies than Novell GroupWise or Lotus Notes. Not to mention stealing the game console top spot from the once dominant Sony.....

I rest my case.

Are you claiming that Alec Saunders' tenure as Vice-President of Developer Relations has been a success? Thus far my impression of him is, "Yawn. Another management-type who simply does not understand software development much less software developers." A real leader would have shepherded the release of the BlackBerry Native Development Kit (NDK) months ago to coincide with the release of BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0. I am tired of excuses and delays from Research In Motion.

What would you like from Mr. Saunders? You want him to come give you a hug? Sounds like you're in need of a hug.

Good sirs please stop spewing feces from your mouths.

(AKA NDK has been out for a looking time. Don't believe me? Check RIMs website. NDK is on 2.0 now.)

The NDK was released last year... well before OS 2.0. If you're talking about Cascades, that has not been released, but he really has no control over the timelines of RIM software development.

I think overwhelmingly developers have been positive about Alec, and compared to the previous VP Developer Relations (Kirkup), Alec has been amazing. So this attack on him is incredibly unwarranted and false.

Do you even know what Alec's job entails? It's Developer RELATIONS. He's been doing an amazing job at bringing over developers to the BB platform. I don't know if you've read how many apps and vendors have been signed up in the past half year. But it's been damn sure more than it's ever been for BB.

Really? Last I checked the windows phone commercials were vibrant and popped out of the tv, the Nokia Lumia 900 had a huge successful launch due to marketing (even with the phone having a pretty major software flaw - which was promptly addressed). Maybe you're thinking microsoft like Windows Operating Systems - Windows Mobile is a completely different beast with its own marketing team/strategies. Not by any stretch of the imagination trying to hype up MS or discredit RIM, but if I had to choose a phone based solely on the advertisements, it wouldn't be a blackberry. "Blackberry Bold - Be Bold". That is not creative. The dark commercials with people who aren't the everyman (not) showing how they use their phone to stand around and look at their calendar? Not a great campaign. I think RIM/BB could use this guys talent to get out of this marketing rut.

Maybe I'm the only one who thinks these "be bold" commercials are stupid. The old mans voice that sounds like he's puking up B's just doesn't make me want to go out and buy a Blackberry.

-footnote: I do have a Blackberry 9900 and a Playbook and love them both. Not hating the player, just their game.

Each to their own, I thought they were awful.

The nokia lumia 'success' has already starting to fade and any sales were just as likely to be due to almost giving the phones away.

I'm not saying RIM adverts are good (although I didn't mind some of the be bold ones), I'm just saying that Mr.Softees are generally even worse.

If RIM really want to make decent adverts, just get a CMO who hires Fallon to make them.

trolling disclosure - own android phone, iMac + iPad, Playbook, $RIMM shares.

If this guy gets RIM to give away BB10 phones then he will have done his job!!!!!!!!

I'm serious, it's amazing how execs in this area don't understand network effects. The absolute best thing RIM could do with BB10 phones is give them away. They need a base of millions of users to bring developers and when the base of Blackberry users has built up THEN think about charging for the phones.

RIM more than any other company should do this becuase they own there own netowrk and collect money from users evey month for it. GIVE THOSE PHONES AWAY!!!

Good point... I would like you to run your business and give your products/services away for a year. Ask your shareholders (wife & kids) what they think of the concept...

Carriers subsidize giving away phones with long-term contracts. That's the model and giving stuff away is not always what this is all about...

He was hired at Microsoft 5 months ago and left today. Prior to that he was at Samsung. So he's not a Microsoft lifer by any stretch of the imagination.

That's slightly unfair, he's been with them for only 5 months, and was with Samsung before that. There's obviously a reason he's leaving so quickly, so how do we know the direction MS marketing is taking isn't that reason to use it as a knock against him.

Are you serious? He was only with Microsoft 5 months. Maybe that tells me his 'vision' didn't match M's culture - so he decided to leave. That to me sounds good. Maybe he has the passion RIM needs.

because you know.. being at microsoft a whopping FIVE months, its totally his fault WP7 marketing fails. maybe thats why he left? so you'll base your whole opinion of RIM, because of a guy who hasn't even been at MS long enough to memorize the menu at the cafeteria?

Would be cool to have a big name like him on board. Although I don't think it's in any way confirmed, it's certainly odd for him to leave Microsoft so soon

exactly he was hired originally based on what a very detailed interview and after making sure he was a match for their vision as well.

Five months later he's gone. Does not add up and what ever reason he left is may not be good for RIMM either. I'm sure all the fan boys here as they cheer he's on board; was the typical response from MS side when he was hired there....then the bottle rocket exhausted it powder and went fizzzzzz..... where to next ... ???

FYI for more reading: http://tinyurl.com/3pbr36k

I tend to judge people on their individual talents not necessarily who they work(ed) for. To suggest that this guy had anything to do with the failure that is Microsoft is not been realistic. If he is talented and positioned in the wrong company and we know that, we should consider him. I'm not in a position to judge whether Thor is in the right slot either, time will tell.

All I know is that the choice has to make HUGE sense at this stage of the game, and the market, analysts and shareholders need to see something special in their choice after waiting this long.

This is exactly how I feel. Well said. I don't think its a bad call to bring this guy on board.

Windows Phone is has been gaining ground with him on their side, maybe he can bring some of that moxie to RIM!

Thanks chrispipe,

We know he has some background with Samsung and that can't hurt, we also know he sat in on a few Microsoft meetings and that's cool, the big question is, "does his view of the smartphone market make sense or help us".

I can appreciate why he left Microsoft, as you get to know who the real players are at the top, you begin to form an opinion of how likely it is that you will be heard. From personal experience, I can see how 5-months of working for a mature company like Microsoft would identify its disadvantages.

RIM for all of its challenges looks like a perfect place to hang your hat if you are career driven individual who wants to make a statement and stand out.

When hiring someone for a key position, you have to look at what they have accomplished and what prevented them from achieving their full potential as well as where they see your industry going. He might tick the boxes in all cases here, we don't know!!

Microsoft has okay marketting for their windows phones, if this guy is good and is the new marketing chief hopefully he does a good job!
I don't like the way he left after 5 months /:) =-?

I see 10.fold windows phone commercials than I do blackberry. So it sounds like a good idea to get this guy on board and push the 4g playbook to enterprises and the public as well. So long it's 2.1 we are dealing with by then because this2.0.1 won't cut it. Keep pushing Rim you can do this.

I did like the long Microsoft , "beta testing" commercial. If Mr. Kim is responsible for that, then I would say he is a good option in my eyes.
What comes to mind is that rumor about Microsoft investing in RIM. Would this hurt the relationship? If only I phone tap Thorsten's BB10 to hear what's really going on in conversations between RIM and Microsoft these days.

...From Samsung to Microsoft...and maybe to RIM...sure, why not

It would be much better if you gave us some background information about this guy...

There is nothing worse than idle speculation. We need lots more info; who are the other candidates? Must be a slow news day.

lol these type of comments slay me!

release BB10 early, complain it wasn't ready and blame RIM. Plan to release it when Hardware and Software are both ready, its not fast enough

Also, what does that have to do with the speculation of a new CMO

This is Trolling 101, fan of BB or not lol

They should hire the people who did the Cheetos commercials.

Workman : I can totally see you.
Chester : Yes, we know.

[SARCASM]Yes because the marketing for Windows Phone 7 has been Awesome! I see them everywhere![/SARCASM] Seriously RIM!

So. I've seen nothing in that 5 months! RIM needs a CMO that can hit the ground running and make an impact day 1. And who are you to be telling me to shut up!

Shut up for the sake of telling the other shutups to shut up so they don't shut themselves up before they even have the chance to write shut up on their foreheads and then tell themselves to shut up with they've been told to shut up? Funny eh? Lol

Just to be clear. This is an article of idle speculation, based on circumstances. It is not based on a lead, a sighting, at tip, etc. Basically this is an article to ensure crackberry constantly appears in your RSS feed, much like the front page announcements for minor OS leaks.

This guy has a resume of working for big companies, which only proves that he is adept in navigating bureaucratic waters. I don't see a list of big successes on his resume. While I think the 'smoked by a windows' phone was cool, and the samsunged campaigns are effective, I haven't seen anywhere that they were linked directly to him. In the case of smoked by a windows phone, while cool, the sales results have be lukewarm.

The dude could be great. All I am saying is that there is nothing to indicate he is a saviour.

You guys kill me. Such a complete lack of understanding it's almost frightening.

You do realize he was at MS for five months right? Five months, not years. If he had any influence on anything it would have been the most recent campaign for the Lumia, which, by all accounts has been successful despite its lack of solid software.

Prior to that he was at Samsung. Not sure you've noticed this, but Samsung has been on a roll for the last couple years. They've done exceptionally well. Perhaps the only company in the tech space with a better reputation and track record is Apple - Samsung has generally been dominating everywhere - he was part of that! Not sure what part, but enough of a part for MS to think they should bring him over. RIM could certainly do worse.

Unbelievable, basing opinion of a person's performance on where he was for five months. Thankfully most of you aren't running companies (or responsible for performance appraisals - I pity your employees if you are).

Given RIM's performance, or lack thereof, to date, I dare say I'd put my trust in anyone who posts on Crackberry to run the company better than what's been going on. How could it get any worse than what it is?

He could walk on water but if RIMM does not deliver a BB10 homerun product. He might as well go back to MS.

Man you guys are dogging this guy and we don't even know if he was picked. No matter who they pick it will be a change. You can't even go any lower than the current marketing. I mean glowing bikes isn't going to show people what RIM's really made of. If they picked him then I will be a supporter until he proves otherwise. Until then calm the rants down for an article wothy of it.

RIM IS NOT GOING BANKRUPT, DYING, FAILING OR BEING BOUGHT OFF OR SOLD OUT. They have 6.5 billion in cash and not a single penny of debt.

I actually find the Microsoft windows phone commercials really good. Better than just......be bold that rim has. How stupid is that

I actually find the Microsoft windows phone commercials really good. Better than just......be bold that rim has. How stupid is that

There was a promo piece made for the Playbook just a short while ago that looked really good. It showed different uses for the Playbook and every-day use capabilities. I just hope whoever they appoint as CMO would take a page from that promo piece and do something similar with the phone line.