RIMM: Right Idea, Disastrous CEO Pick
Besides Heins' weaknesses, the major problems with the governance changes over the weekend are that nothing has really changed on the board of directors.
Barbara Stymiest -- former head of the Toronto Stock Exchange and a senior executive at the Royal Bank of Canada (RY) -- is now the chair. That would be like Apple (AAPL) naming someone like Sallie Krawcheck, whose background is in banking, as its chair. What does Stymiest know about handsets? Additionally, Stymiest has been on the board for five years. If she's going to be an agent of change like Heins, the question is, where has she been all this time?
The most positive news is that famed Canadian value investor Prem Watsa, who is a large RIMM shareholder, has joined the board. He has an excellent reputation. I understand why people like Watsa and noted value investor Lee Cooperman have taken positions in RIMM. But there's much more risk for this kind of value play (because of the technology cycle) compared to some typical value investments in other industries. And Watsa is just one voice on the board.
I suspect that Heins' tenure as RIMM CEO could be as ill-fated and short as Leo Apotheker's term at the helm of Hewlett-Packard.At the time of publication, Jackson was long AAPL.
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