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RIM Co-CEOs Show Two Is a Crowd

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Research In Motion's (RIM) less-than-stellar first-quarter results have cast an unfavorable spotlight on the handset maker's management double act, co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

Participants on TheStreet's live blog of RIM's results, released after market close on Thursday, did not pull any punches as they questioned the effectiveness of the dual management team.
Questions are being asked about the effectiveness of the BlackBerry maker's dual management team.

"I think it's harder to see a clear direction from the top if they constantly have to ask 'what do you think' to their partner," said one commenter. Another coined Balsillie and Lazaridis as "the two-headed monster."

"Two CEOs means two salaries -- one should be fired," was the blunt assessment of one commenter, while someone else noted that "the quickest fix for the plunging stock price is the ousting of the two morons."

Balsillie and Lazaridis were quizzed about the value of the co-CEO model during the conference call to discuss the results, with JP Morgan analyst Rod Hall nodding to Google's (GOOG) recent moves to streamline its management structure.

The RIM CEOs spent a chunk of the call awkwardly explaining why they work well together, a somewhat rambling response that will likely fuel further criticism of their joint leadership style.

"I just don't think it's the issue," replied Balsillie. "I think there are parts that overlap and we highly coordinate it."

"We work very closely together and I don't know where all these things are coming from," added Lazaridis.

Co-CEO partnerships are few and far between in the tech sector; they rarely seem to work. The former co-CEOs of underperforming Indian tech giant Wipro, for example, resigned earlier this year, to be replaced by a sole CEO, T.K. Kurien.

RIM handset rival Motorola also boasted two CEOs, who eventually parted ways when the company split earlier this year in an effort to become better focused on its two sectors. Sanjay Jha become the sole CEO of the consumer-oriented Motorola Mobility (MMI), while his counterpart Greg Brown took the helm at enterprise and networks-focused Motorola Solutions (MSI).
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