Research In Motion (RIM) co-founders and CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have stepped down from their positions to make way for new leadership at the struggling phone-maker.
After 20 years at the helm, the pair decided to resign amid continuous struggles to respond to market pressure. Former Chief Operating Officer Thorsten Heins has taken over and will look to turn around what is an undoubtedly bleak outlook for the Canadian giant.
Lazaridis will become Vice Chair of RIM’s board and while Balsillie continues as a board member.
"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 revealed in a statement.
"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."
It’s unclear at this point exactly how much influence the duo will have on the decision-making process in the company moving forward. However, Lazaridis reveals his duties will be to “offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide”.
New boss Heins said: "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."
"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. I share that philosophy and am very excited about the company's future."
It remains to be seen whether the shake-up will have a positive impact on RIM or if it is too little, too late. Heins is likely to be in favour of licensing out BlackBerry 10 to other manufacturers, which might be a tough sell with Android dominating the scene. Whatever his plans are, we are likely to hear more at next month’s Mobile World Congress.