Research in Motion founders and co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have resigned from their posts at the floundering BlackBerry maker.
The pair will be replaced by Thorsten Heins, who has risen quickly through the ranks since joining RIM in 2007.
The move was seen as a reaction to investor concern about the company's direction, with BlackBerry devices looking increasingly sidelined by the rise of Apple and Google in the smartphone market.
The company's problems have seen share prices plummet to an eight-year low, sparking investor unrest. The founders will, however, remain with the company, just in pared-down roles.
“Mike Lazaridis, former co-chair and co-CEO, has become vice chair of RIM’s board and chair of the board’s new Innovation Committee,” the company said. “As vice chair, he will work closely with Heins to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide.”
Balsillie remains a member of the board.
According to Lazaridis, the decision to step aside was prompted by an acceptance that the company needed a shake-up if it was to turn around its fortunes. “There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognise the need to pass the baton to new leadership,” Lazaridis said. “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.”
Heins, a former Siemens executive, said the company would persist with plans to integrate the QNX operating system into Blackberry devices, although the project is taking longer than expected.
“Mike and Jim took a bold step 18 months ago when RIM purchased QNX to shepherd the transformation of the BlackBerry platform for the next decade,” Heins said.
“We are more confident than ever that was the right path. It is Mike and Jim’s continued unwillingness to sacrifice long-term value for short-term gain which has made RIM the great company that it is today.”
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk