RIM CEO will turn company into 'lean, mean hunting machine'

By Peter Gothard
11 Jul 2012 View Comments
RIM BlackBerry Dev Alpha device

At RIM's annual shareholders meeting yesterday, CEO Thorstein Heins promised to turn the company into a "lean, mean hunting machine".

Shortly before, in her introductory remarks, RIM chair Barbara Stymiest revealed that the company is "actively seeking to augment the board".

Further reading

Both statements show a clear intent at RIM to rescue the company from what Heins now famously denied last week on a Toronto radio station is a "death spiral" for the BlackBerry producer.

"I am not satisfied with the performance of the company over the past year," Heins told shareholders. "Many of you are frustrated with the time it has taken us to make our way through the transition."

But it's exactly what this "transition" may be that is angering shareholders, and baffling the mobile technology industry at large.

From a report for the last financial quarter that has seen the company lose almost 80 per cent of its value and 5,000 employees, to growing rumours in recent weeks that the company might make an alliance with Microsoft, or split altogether into software and hardware divisions, there are a number of options open to RIM, with no clear decision apparently yet being made.

Vic Alboini, chief executive of Jaguar Financial, commented from the audience: "There was no mention of a sale of the company, no mention of a breakup of the company, and again, our big, big concern is if the BB10s are a dud."

All Heins could offer shareholders, in a speech that saw the company's stock fall a further 10 per cent hours later, was that he had "assembled a leadership team for RIM that's truly capable of taking us into future."

According to Reuters, Heins later told reporters: "There is a lot of action going on, looking at very different options for what the company could do. When it's time to go public with it, we'll go public with it."

A breadcrumb of intention there, perhaps. But RIM is going to have to pull something out of the hat soon to keep on top of a situation that is seeing its reputation, and market value, dwindle by the day.

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