Wed, Jan 25, 2012 - Page 5 News List

RIM to focus more on consumer market: new CEO

AFP, MONTREAL

A customer examines a Research In Motion Ltd BlackBerry Bold smartphone at the Westfield Stratford City Mall in London on Monday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Research In Motion’s (RIM) new chief executive Thorsten Heins said on Monday he plans to focus more on the consumer market, but that a “drastic change” is not necessary at the struggling BlackBerry maker.

Heins, who took over on Sunday from co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, also said he had no plans to split up the company, which has been losing market share to Apple’s iPhone and handsets powered by Google’s Android platform.

“I will not in any way split this up or separate this into different businesses,” the 54-year-old Heins said in a conference call with financial analysts.

Heins said he wants RIM to “focus more on consumer, on consumer marketing” and he has received “the support from the board in going down that path.”

“But this is not a seismic change,” he said. “This is scaling the company further and we will continue to scale this company up.”

“I don’t think that there is some drastic change needed,” he said. “We are evolving. We’re evolving our strategy.”

Heins, who joined RIM in December 2007 from German industrial giant Siemens, where he was chief technology officer, said he would make recruiting a new chief marketing officer a priority.

The new CEO also said that he would be prepared to license the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Co-CEOs Lazaridis and Balsillie resigned on Sunday following months of investor pressure for a change at the helm of RIM.

The shakeup did not provide a jolt of confidence to investors, however, and RIM shares tumbled 8.47 percent to close at US$15.56 on Wall Street on Monday.

Analysts were also unconvinced.

“Change at the top finally here, but is it too late?” Tal Liani of Bank of America said.

Jeff Kvall of Barclays Capital said the move was “necessary, but not sufficient.”

“We view this as a good first step in the right direction,” Morgan Stanley said. “However, we do not believe this move is enough, especially as Heins is an internal hire and not an independent fresh voice.”

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