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RIM CEOs Yield to Siemens Vet, New Chair; Lazaridis to Buy Stock

The Wall Street Journal’s Will Connors and Chip Cummins this evening report that Research in Motion (RIMM) co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis plan to announce early Monday they will give up their roles, handing the CEO spot to a five-year veteran, current COO Thorsten Heins, citing company sources.

The appointment of Heins, a former Siemens AG exec, comes in advance of a January 31st deadline when the RIM board was to receive a strategic review report compiled by a special board committee.


Heins is named president and CEO and a director. Mike Lazaridis, who shared the chairman title with Balsillie, becomes vice chairman of the board, and also head of a new “innovation committee.”

Balsillie will remain a director, and, as has been widely rumored, Barbara Stymiest, the five-year board member with ties to Royal Bank of Canada, is to be the new chairman of the board.

The press release said that the board voted unanimously for the succession plan that Balsillie and Lazaridis had previously submitted to the board, but only after the board conducted its own due diligence.

Lazaridis said it was time to refocus attention on the “great company” he and Balsillie had built. He said he was so confident in the company’s future that he intends to make $50 million worth of purchases of company stock on the open market.
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