Well, it’s finally happened: Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have stepped down as co-CEOs and former co-COO (does RIM have to have two of everything?) Thorsten Heins has been installed as the new boss.
As a proud Canadian, as someone who doesn’t live too far from Waterloo (Toronto’s a bit over an hour east of their home base), and as someone who had an original email-only BlackBerry back in 2000 as one of the perks of working at a startup during the dot-com bubble, I can’t help but root for RIM and Thorsten Heins. It might also be that working with a brilliant guy like Tobi has conditioned me to automatically trust CEOs with German accents.
The fact that Heins has said that he wants to stay the course set by Balsillie and Lazaridis is not encouraging, and a number of the tech sites and blogs have said so. While a statement like that should be a reason for concern, you need to keep in mind that Balsillie and Lazaridis installed the guy and it’s been said that they’ll still play active roles in the company (we’ll see). I hope it’s a case of his being unable to step in and say “I’m coming in to undo the damage wrought by my predecessors, and here’s my plan”, as much as we’d all like to hear those very words.