Research in Motion's (RIM) co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have resigned from their roles at the struggling firm in a move to appease investors, as the performance of the BlackBerry manufacturer has waned in recent years.
The firm announced that chief operating officer Thorsten Heins is the new chief executive, while Lazaridis will become vice chair of RIM's board and Balsillie will sit as a full-time board member.
The decision by Balsillie and Lazaridis to step down comes after months of pressure from investors to shake things up, as the firm has seen its market share eroded by Android and iPhone devices entering the business market.
The firm also generated a number of negative headlines in 2011 with its PlayBook tablet proving a flop and customers around the globe affected by a major network outage that hit RIM's network in October.
Announcing the decision, Lazaridis said both he and Balsillie agreed the firm needed new leadership and were confident it has enough new products to remain relevant in the market.
"There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognise the need to pass the baton to new leadership. [We told] the board we thought that time was now," he said.
"With BlackBerry 7 now out, PlayBook 2.0 shipping in February and BlackBerry 10 expected to ship later this year, the company is entering a new phase and we felt it was time for a new leader to take it through that phase."