RIM CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie step down

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Joint CEO’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have stepped down from their top-level roles at the BlackBerry-owning firm.

Founder Lazaridis will now take the role of vice chairman, with Jim Balsillie taking a non-operational role on the board of directors. Thorsten Heins will now be the singular CEO, with Barbara Stymiest is the new independent board chair.

It’s the culmination of an incredibly testing few months for BlackBerry, which saw the brand name tarnished by network outages, poor BlackBerry PlayBook sales and the role of BlackBerry Messenger as a means of communication for the London rioters.

There is no indication that the pair have been forced out of their previous roles, though one would expect that the enormous pressure felt would have influenced their hands. In a statement Balsillie said:

“There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognise the need to pass the baton to new leadership. Jim and I went to the Board and told them that we thought that time was now. 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 and beyond.”

And so, in the video below, introducing Thorsten Heins, new RIM CEO:

Gerald Lynch