Services & Software

RIM hires new executives as it struggles to bounce back

The mobile device maker is shaking up its top management by appointing a new chief operating officer and a new chief marketing officer.

RIM is adding two new key executives to upper management.
Research In Motion

Research In Motion is bringing aboard a couple of key executive players as the company strives to win back more customers and launch its BlackBerry 10 platform.

Joining as chief operating officer is Kristian Tear, formerly an executive vice president at Sony Mobile Communications.

In his new role with RIM, Tear will be responsible for all operational aspects of handheld devices and services, including R&D, products, sales, manufacturing, and supply chain.

Tear has worked in the wireless industry for almost 25 years, according to RIM. Prior to his management position with Sony, he was a corporate vice president with Sony Ericsson's Western Europe division and CEO of Ericsson in different regions across the world.

Joining the RIM team as chief marketing officer is Frank Boulben, former executive vice president of strategy, marketing, and sales for mobile broadband provider LightSquared. As per his RIM title, Boulben will handle global marketing strategy for his new employer.

Like Tear, Boulben has many years of experience in the mobile industry. Prior to his work at LightSquared, he held sales and marketing positions at Vodafone and Orange.

"Kristian and Frank bring extensive knowledge of the rapidly changing wireless global market and will help RIM as we sharpen our focus on delivering long-term value to our stakeholders," RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said in a statement. "Most importantly, both Kristian and Frank possess a keen understanding of the emerging trends in mobile communications and computing."

RIM is struggling to recapture lost market share and sales in an industry virtually sewn up by Apple and Android.

The company recently reported a fourth-quarter loss of $125 million and a 25 percent drop in revenue.

Its once popular BlackBerry devices are struggling to find customers in the wake of heavy competition. RIM hasn't unveiled a new product since the second half of 2011 and has tried to woo buyers by offering hefty discounts on its existing devices.

Heins has acknowledged that the company is in trouble, saying recently that "it's clear to me substantial change is what we need." Heins has reportedly already been trimming management, with sales and marketing executives at the top of the layoff list, according to a source cited by The Globe and Mail.

RIM is pinning some hopes on BlackBerry 10, the new mobile platform that adopted the QNX operating system used in the PlayBook tablet. But the company still needs the devices and the developers to back it up. So even with the best executives at the top, RIM is facing an uphill battle just trying to recapture lost ground.