RIM Shares Plummet on New CEO’s Comments

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Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) CEO Thorstein Heins told investors clamoring for a strategic shakeup that no “drastic change” is needed on a conference call this morning, sending the company’s stock sliding.

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RIM is betting on the management overhaul to stem falling sales and make the mobile device maker more competitive against the likes of Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad.

Heins, who is replacing co-Chief Executive Officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, said that he promotes “creativity, innovation and free thinking” and that he is ready to go head-to-head with Silicon Valley rivals.

“We need to fight back and get stronger,” Heins said in an interview. “You will see and hear much more from us.” Heins said he plans to continue the strategic path laid out by his predecessors. Lazaridis will stay on as vice chairman and lead the board’s innovation committee, providing counsel to the Heins.

However, industry analysts are concerned that the involvement of previous leadership could make it difficult for Heins to make changes that will impact the company’s course. But Basillie and Lazaridis have guided RIM for two decades, and the decision to step down and appoint Heins was theirs. Lazaridis, who founded the company in 1984, said the shift is a result of the company’s evolution, and that the introduction of new technologies will give RIM more competitive products.

Heins will oversee RIM’s transition to next-generation products running on a new operating system, which has suffered from delays. The new BlackBerrys based on the new system, which could make or break the company, aren’t expected until late this year.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Knapp at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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