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RIM reshuffles European execs as BlackBerry 10 looms

The BlackBerry maker taps the chief of its U.K.-Ireland operations, one of the company's remaining strongholds, for a newly created role as regional managing director for Europe.

Ah that familiar keyboard, seen here on a Boost Mobile-branded BlackBerry Curve 9310.
Josh Miller/CNET

Research In Motion, the beleaguered BlackBerry maker, has appointed a new managing director for its U.K. and Ireland business.

Rob Orr, currently vice president for product management for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, will replace Stephen Bates as the firm's U.K. and Ireland managing director on September 1. 

Outgoing managing director Stephen Bates will take up a newly created role as regional managing director for Europe, responsible for customer engagement and market responsiveness across the firm's European base. 

A RIM spokesperson told ZDNet that Bates' move is:

...part of plans to ensure the RIM team in Europe is optimally structured to be fully focused on selling BlackBerry 7 smartphones and BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, and is prepared and ready for the launch of BlackBerry 10 in the first quarter of 2013.

The Ontario-based smartphone maker continues to enjoy success in the U.K. with more than 8 million subscribers at the last count in November, nearly a year ago. In a recent 40-F filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, RIM said that sales in the U.K. represented around 10 percent of its total consolidated revenue, showing strong demand for such a modestly sized market.

But RIM continues to lose market share worldwide. ComScore currently pegs RIM's global market share for smartphone platforms stands at a falling figure of 10.7 percent at the end of June 2012.

The BlackBerry maker has around 11 percent of the U.K. market share, according to Ipsos Mori data released in April, compared to 15 percent owning an Android phone and 19 percent share owned by Apple's iPhone.

A recent Ars Technica report suggests that RIM's falling market share, according to StatCounter figures, could soon be overtaken by Microsoft's Windows Phone platform -- which failed to make it off the ground from its post-Windows Mobile rebranding exercise. Of course, it goes without saying that Microsoft's smartphone platform share increases by a fraction month on month, but RIM's ever-declining share is what is powering the platform switcheroo.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "RIM replaces UK, Ireland chief in European reshuffle.