updated 11:05 pm EDT, Thu April 5, 2012
RIM quietly cuts more execs than named
RIM's wider executive purge is real, the company confirmed Thursday night. Along with dropping its CTO and COO last week, it explained to the Wall Street Journal that BlackBerry Messenger VP Alistair Mitchell had also left. Senior BlackBerry platform VP Alan Brenner had also left.
Insiders implied that more had left than just the four, although this wasn't detailed or confirmed by the company. Co-founder, former co-CEO, and chairman Jim Balsillie had left as part of the more public announcements.
The mass exits came after new CEO Thorsten Heins conducted a review of RIM's business and concluded that a major restructuring of management was necessary. Although the company has usually denied or downplayed them, the strategy indirectly supports open letters that complained of bureaucracy that slowed down progress and made it difficult to question decisions.
After coming in at the low end of already low guidance, RIM has been alluding to drastic steps beyond just reorganizing its leadership. It intends to concentrate more on the BlackBerry's existing strong points of corporate and government use, cutting down on areas where it knows it's weaker than Android or the iPhone and developing more software and services that stand out. Most of its hope is pinned on BlackBerry 10, which reaches developers in May.
Former CEOs Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis had been criticized almost uniformly through 2011 for both overly optimistic portrayals of how well the company would fare and of largely brushing off any accusations that they or their management choices were at fault for ceding the smartphone market to Apple and Google.