RIM's New CEO Is a Little Too Excited About His Job

By Alexis C. Madrigal
Turning around the troubled phone maker won't be easy, but the company's CEO doesn't seem to want us to know that.

RIM, the maker of the Blackberry, has a new CEO. His name is Thorsten Heins and he was the company's COO. Heins replaces co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who led the company for two decades. The two outgoing executives have come under heavy criticism as the company's share price has fallen almost 90 percent since its 2008 peak. As the smartphone market has exploded over the last few years with the success of Apple's iOS and various phones running Google's Android, RIM has been left in the dust. It has been, after all, almost five years since Apple released the iPhone, and RIM may finally put out a competitive operating system later this year.

So, it was with considerable shock that we watched the video above. Despite that record, Heins fawns over the outgoing CEOs and basically describes RIM as too innovative. We understand that as the new CEO he has to carry some corporate weight, but the level of pandering to the previous administration might be why investors reacted so negatively to Heins' appointment. This video -- and script -- make Heins look plain bad. "Think prom video meets un-coachable corporate droid," as Paul Kedrosky put it.

Here's a transcript of what Heins said in the first couple minutes of the video, but you should really watch for yourself.

I'm absolutely excited. I mean, this is so fantastic and phenomenal to become the CEO, being trusted by Jim, Mike and the board to follow Mike and Jim's *big* footsteps.

I joined this company four years ago and it was growing but comparably it was small in the wireless arena, as a player. We have taken this to total new heights and that journey isn't over yet, right? If we continue doing well what we're doing, I see no problems with us being in the top three players worldwide in the next years in wireless.

At the very core of RIM, at its DNA how I always describe it, is the innovation. We always think ahead. We always think forward. We sometimes think the unthinkable. And that is fantastic. That is the core of every high technology company. We've learned to execute. Yes, we have to get better at execution, but we've learned a lot going from when I joined them in 2007. Never lose this innovation spirit, but once we say a product is defined, we move decisively into execution mode and get the product done in good quality, on time, and also at good cost.

More internally, from a process perspective, we need to get a bit more disciplined in our own processes. We are a great innovative company but sometimes we innovate too much while we are building a product. I want to spend more time prototyping, exploring, and research and development while we are building product on a separate stream.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/01/rims-new-ceo-is-a-little-too-excited-about-his-job/251850/