Stricken Canadian mobile company Research in Motion (RIM) which makes BlackBerry has dumped its two joint chairmen and CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie and replaced them with COO Thorsten Heins (pictured) who joined from Siemens in 2007.
Heins’ job is doubtless to get some of Blackberry’s long-promised new products off the production line but he has admitted that more and better marketing is what the company really needs.
“I want to maintain the focus on enterprise, but we need to communicate a bit more with our consumers. We need to do more marketing,” he says.
On RIM’s agenda is the planned launch of a new version of its much-maligned Playbook tablet next month and the rollout later this year of the BlackBerry 10 operating system. BlackBerry has been losing market share rapidly to Apple, Android and Samsung in the key North American market although it is performing better in the rest of the world thanks to its strong position in the corporate market (and among young people who don’t want others to read their emails).
Heins, an engineer, says he wants to recruit a high profile chief marketing officer. The company appointed Omnicom’s high-regarded UK agency AMV/BBDO as its global ad agency a year ago but not much seems to have happened.
Heins’ avowed new focus is very flattering for the marketing community but it’s open to debate whether even a new, improved marketing programme can revive RIM in time to keep it out of the clutches of circling predators Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung.