Thorsten Heins nominated for Cantech Letter TSX Tech Exec of the Year award

BlackBerry CEO, Thorsten Heins
By Bla1ze on 15 Dec 2012 07:04 pm EST

We're getting close to the end of the year and with that comes the Cantech Letter Awards, which honor Canada’s top technology stock and top technology stock executives. This year, the award winners, and the analysts who will vote on the awards will open the Toronto Stock Exchange trading day on Friday, January 11, 2013. Among them could be RIM CEO Thorsten Heins as he's been nominated as a finalist for the TSX Tech Exec of the Year. Cantech Letter presented the nominees and looking at their write up for Thorsten, it couldn't be more spot on:

For the first ten months of Thorsten Heins tenure, he endured more doubt and scrutiny and outright ridicule than any rookie CEO should have to suffer. Regardless, Heins plodded on as the delay of RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 platform seemed to stretch to an eternity. But now, with BlackBerry 10 a little more than a month away, critics seem to be understanding that Heins is no shrinking violet. Many analysts have recently reconsidered RIM’s prospects, and decided that the worst case scenario and the most likely scenario are further apart than they first thought.

Other nominees include Michael Donovan, of Halifax's DHX Media who deals with creation and production of such childrens TV shows as Animal Mechanicals, Rastamouse, Angela Anaconda along with Yo Gabba Gabba. Next on the list is Michael Roach, whose company CGI Group deals with IT consulting, systems integration, outsourcing and is based out of Montreal, Canada.

Source: Cantech Letter

Reader comments

Thorsten Heins nominated for Cantech Letter TSX Tech Exec of the Year award


Until BlackBerry 10 ships I cannot fathom how Thorsten Heins deserves to be nominated for this award. Additionally, the share price of RIM (RIMM) has not been a stellar performer. How is this nomination justified?

I agree, the nomination is a bit early at this point, I like what I see so far, but I'll reserve judgements until say early Spring.

Share price is the opinion of people very few of whom have any real understanding of technology. Heins began with many people saying BB10 would never launch. This is no longer the case.

While I think he has been good for BlackBerry they still have not released a (contemporary) product - perhaps BB10 should be in people's hands prior to laying on accolades?

Not the point. The point is that the company was dying and now it's in the brink of a huge comeback. We went from seeing nothing about the BB10 to seeing 75% of what it has to offer. Also, stock has rose from $6 to $14 in 3 months.

Jan 30 can't come soon enough.

It is the point - the stock is still low, market share continues to decrease, and there were massive (but necessary, obviously) lay offs. I am not saying he has not done a great job - he has, but results are absolutely critical in the position and more importantly by the very description of the award!

From a financial standpoint, laying off employees is a good move because it lowers costs and can help RIM's Q3. I don't like it, but hell...did they layoff just because they wanted to, or did they layoff the Java developers that couldn't program the QNX OS?

The stock has risen from 5.56 to almost $12 in less than 2 months, had a few ups/downs and finished at $13.88 this past Friday.

The point is that RIM was not dying - they have NEVER had debt and always cash since it's first 5years - I've yet to see reports of a loan or extending a loan for the company; so their performance has been self-sustaining regardless of the analysts and critics the past few years.

The REAL issue was that RIM had a direction (they purchase a LOT of companies that are only now culminating into BB10; TAT already shown what they could do with PlayBOok), yet the problem was overly complex management structure where too many meetings, approvals, meetings again to get ANYTHING done! The process to their goals was surmounting and way too complex; unnecessary.

Thorsten trimmed the fat after the analysts/investor outcry for new top brass management - keep in mind one of the original Co-CEO's is still on the executive board along with Thorstein (most CEO's are on the board of directors for any company and they can easily be booted out). Thorsten has proven his 20yrs of experience and even if RIM doesn't make massive sales of BB10 the first quarter (I actually estimate a slow gradual growth), this CEO has proven his mettle and THAT is what this finalist nomination is for. PERFORMANCE of his past/current work over the last 12months.

Awesome he deserves it! I always asked myself if he practiced holding that BlackBerry10 phone the way he is in the mirror before the event lol. He's holding it like it's the holy grail :D

I think the award will go to Mr. Roach. CGI's acquisition of Logica (an European IT Consulting company) was one of the biggest moves of the year. This is actually how CGI became the top IT corporation in Canada, of course, until RIM's stock started to get back on track later this year.

Good for Thorsten, though, he has got the respect of the corporate community, and the loyal BB users.

Acquisition of large companies is what you do when you have no idea what to do next - look at HP with Autonomy. It's about lawyers and bankers, no technology.

what did he achieved except fired people and postponed BB10 to next year? He cannot even show any financial/market number to support his achievements.

I don't know much about this Thorsten guy.

All I know, RIMM stock that I purchased at slightly more than USD$6/share a few months ago is now worth over USD$14/share.

Good job Thorsten!

Thorsten is doing a very good job in a very, very difficult situation. Good luck to him. I agree with the Cantech write-up: the adversity Thorsten has had to deal with this past year has been obscene. The amount of people that want to see RIM fail both shocks and saddens me in equal measure, especially as their hostility seems misplaced and totally unjustified. Maybe if RIM had committed tax fraud, pursued some sort of price-fixing, blatantly stolen a competitors IP or engaged in corporate espionage then I'd understand the resentment. But as far as I know, RIM has been a fairly well run, innovative, ambitious and ethical multi-national company that has contributed great things to the mobile tech industry and Canadian economy. So I don't understand why anti-BlackBerry bias exists at all. Hopefully BB10 will be a great step in a direction towards changing all that.

The people who want RIM to fail are AAPL,GOOG and MSFT. It isn't hard to understand. While there is one company that doesn't spy on its users, there is a way to route round them.

If you mean stealing data and bypassing BIS to get free stuff without paying for a data plan, that my friend, is theft.

You completely misunderstand (owing to having an unduly suspicious mind?). And I am definitely no friend of yours. Nor am I a thief.

Google, Apple and now Microsoft are in the business of either selling data on your mobile phone usage, or providing "apps" (hate the term) funded all or partly by advertising, which also supply data to third parties.
If you want a reasonable, European level of privacy when you use a smartphone, BIS or BES provides that for messaging, and you can have ad-free applications run on your phone. Therefore, Blackberry routes round the privacy invasion of the other phone platforms. I will put up with a lot to get that.

The other day, I found a paid-for Android application, for astronomy no less, that wanted the ability to send text messages from my phone. Anyone who knows about "premium" text services will understand what a gaping security hole that is. But why? What legitimate reason could there be? That to me is a prime example of what is wrong with the other platforms.

Nothing bad to say about this man at all. He has certainly done a lot for BB and RIM. The work is far from over, but he has taken it further then anyone else affiliated with RIM and BB. He is one deserving guy of this, and I wish him nothing but the best. I am sure he is not going to fail us faithful BB users. All good things come to those who wait, and everyone knows we have all waited, so, now on to all good things. We can start with Jan 30th as being one of them.

Thanks Thor

Kudos to Mr. Heins! He has handled the reigns of RIM with a great deal of poise when faced with very adverse conditions. He has articulated his vision for the product line and in the process caused a large number of people to buy in or at least reconsider their opinion of Blackberry. He is one of those who is not a manager but a leader. RIM's business partners are excited and buying in. He is very deserving of this award.

I would go as far to say that he has all of the qualities that made Steve Jobs successful!

Well said, Far too many people confuse management with leadership. Leadership requires vision and Mr. Heins has this in spades. I would agree with your analogy with Steve Jobs although I would say that Mr. Heins is a step above. Mr Jobs had a number of nasty tendancies which I find distasteful.

Anyways if you want a current example of management without leadership, HP is an excellent example. I would also argue that Apple is slowly slipping in the management model under Mr. Cook's tenure. Times are changing.

Heins has an opportunity to be one of the best CEOs in history. If he pulls off BB10 and revives the company, he could be held up with the likes of (and I'm gonna get crabbed at) Steve Jobs!

I would really like to ask the people that shorted RIMM between $6 and $10, " Why did they do it?"

They will probably say, " The news article on the internet told me to do it."


can't agree more on this. I do hope Thor wins this award for RIM. He definitely has turned RIM into a company which really has the Research In Motion, along with more than 20 years of his experience in the industry he has proven that RIM is no longer a dull & boring company which doesn't care about the technology of the future and a handicapped marketing but he has turned RIM into a company with full of colours, strategies and collaborations.

Well done Mr. Heins, keep it up and.. HAIL BB10!!! CAN'T WAIT FOR JANUARY 30TH!