CEO vows to turn RIM into "lean, mean machine"

Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:23pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

WATERLOO, Ontario (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd's new CEO vowed on Tuesday to turn around the embattled company with the new generation of BlackBerry devices coming next year, saying he would transform RIM into a "lean, mean, hunting machine."

But Thorsten Heins, presiding over his first annual meeting since taking the helm, offered little to disgruntled shareholders beyond his faith in the power of the BlackBerry 10 line to reverse RIM's fortunes. Its battered stock fell another 5 percent after he spoke.

"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," said Vic Alboini, chief executive of Jaguar Financial and a long-time RIM critic. "Where are we then?"

After a year that wiped out nearly 80 percent of RIM's value, Heins acknowledged the frustration of shareholders with his decision to delay the launch of the new phones until after the crucial holiday shopping season.

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

But Heins, who joined RIM from electronics giant Siemens AG four year ago and took over as CEO in January, expressed confidence that RIM was heading in the right direction.

"I have assembled a leadership team for RIM that's truly capable of taking us into future," he told shareholders.

RIM virtually invented mobile email with its first BlackBerry devices more than a decade ago, but its market share has evaporated as consumers flock to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices based on Google Inc's Android system.   Continued...

A logo of the Blackberry maker's Research in Motion is seen on a building at the RIM Technology Park in Waterloo April 18, 2012. Picture taken April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch