This morning RIM held a conference call to discuss the transition of Thorsten Heins into the role of CEO and President of RIM. They had him on the call along with RIM’s new chairman Barbara Stymiest to discuss the transition. Here is a quick recap of their statements and answers to the questions posted during the call.
Barbara Stymiest – Mike and Jim setup RIM for the future. Mike and Jim came to the board with the succession plan that they had previously submitted of placing Thorston as the new CEO. The board unanimously agreed. Mike and Jim will continue to serve and board members along with chair of innovation committee.
Thorston Heins – RIM is not just a device company but an integrated solution company. I plan on building on this heritage. RIM has $1.5 billion in cash as of last statement. Hit a few bumps in the road here and there. Stronger today for what we have gone through. Mike and Jim are visionaries. Pioneered the development of the smartphone industry. 18 months ago they made the decision to purchase QNX. PlayBook 2.0 coming out in February we see this was the right path to go. Effective execution of our strategy. Bring in new talent as required. Bring in a new chief marketing officer. Empower employees to take risks, be successful, and accountable for their endeavors. Flawless execution a focus.
Q: What does you (Thorston Heins) plan on doing in the next 100 days? What processes are you going to work on?
A: Outside of the US we are doing well and thriving but in the US we are still envisioned as a enterprise product. Engage more with consumer base with marketing communication and go to market plan. Another area is execution, resource planning, rigid program and project management, defining a product and executing on it. RIM scaled very fast and innovated while creating the product but now with more emphasis on prototyping and testing. Execution on this information.
Q: How will RIM tackle the low end markets in emerging markets and what software changes at RIM?
A: RIM is going for the entry level smartphone market. These are not feature phones but there is a huge potential of people to switch from feature phones to smartphones and BlackBerrys offer a good landing point and onboarding new smartphone users. Take them on a journey to more mobile computing with the BlackBerry for everyone program. BlackBerry 10 is not just a new OS it is a whole architecture including a new development environment. Preparing for an upgrade path to bb10.
Q: What is it in QNX that makes you think you will be successful in the market. Is it not a Me too OS that is just catching up in the market? What will make people come back to BlackBerry?
A: QNX is not a new OS it already is around and has been proven for years. QNX is just a framework and foundation for BlackBerry 10. PlayBook is not a tablet but a mobile computing platform.
Q: Last RIM investor call Jim commented on strategic options RIM was looking at. Has anything changed on that front? Is it about licensing?
A: My view on RIM is a very clear view. I have been in device only businesses and it is a cutthroat price and cost business. We are strong because it is a vertical solution. If we have requests for licensing and if it makes sense they will entertain the decision but it is nowhere near my focus one. There is not that much competition since there are not that many other vertical solutions. There really is only that other fruit solution.
Q: What is your timeframe for adding the marketing person and what are you looking for in them?
A: I want this ASAP because I see this is an area that needs to be strengthened. There is the core communication to RIM’s base but it is also to listen. A bit more of an ear to the consumer market and feel out trends. Not listen to the street but get a closer relationship in the US specifically with our consumer base not just our enterprise base.
Q: You have been at RIM since Dec of 2007. Now that you are on the top what couldnt you do previously that you can now do as CEO. What was holding you back that you could not do before?
A: I was not held back before but I think this is not a seismic change but scaling the company further. One element is that we are a technology business and we also need to be more consumer driven.
You can listen to the whole recording here on RIM’s website