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Updated from 10:36 a.m. EST to provide additional analyst comments in eighth paragraph, information about Leon Cooperman's stake in third paragraph, and latest share price.
NEW YORK (
Research In Motion(RIMM) has finally reshuffled its management team,
announcing Thorsten Heins as its new CEO. Investors, however, are less than impressed, sending shares nearly 7% lower this afternoon.
Shares of RIM have surrendered 74.2% of their value over the past year, according to Google Finance, as the handset maker loses market share and relevance in the smartphone market to
Apple(AAPL - Get Report) and
Google(GOOG). Apple's stock, in contrast, has gained 28.6% over the same time period, while Google's has dipped just 4.2%.
Investors, such as
Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors, were hoping for the new CEO to immediately draw a line under RIM's
recent problems, though, may be
Cooperman recently purchased a 1.4 million share stake in the company.
"This is not a seismic change," Heins said on a conference call with investors on Monday, reiterating his desire not to split up the company. "I don't think there is some drastic change needed."
The company also named independent director Barbara Stymiest as the new Chairman of the Board, and appointed Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of
Fairfax Financial Holdings(FFH), to the board. Watsa has often been referred to as "Canada's Warren Buffet."
Barclays Capital analyst Jeff Kvaal, however, warned that the changes are insufficient, noting that the company should have brought in new blood. "RIM missed an opportunity to acquire some outside perspective by turning to Ms. Stymiest and Mr. Heins," he explained. Kvaal has a neutral rating and a $14 price target on shares.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu agrees. A CEO with a "strong consumer electronics and supply chain background would have been ideal," he explained, in a note.
William Blair analyst Anil Doradla called the management changes "not convincing", as the research firm was looking for an emphasis on long-term vision and near‐term tactical execution." Doradla went on to say that "ultimately there is no quick fix for RIM." He rates shares market perform.
Heins takes over from Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who have seen the company they started turn from a technology titan, into a technology neophyte.
There had also been
rumors earlier this year that
Microsoft(MSFT - Get Report),
Nokia(NOK - Get Report) and
Amazon(AMZN) all looked at potentially acquiring Research In Motion, but nothing ever came to fruition.
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