Shares of Research In Motion steadily sank over the course of 2011 as Apple continued to grab market share from the BlackBerry maker. Not helping the company's fortunes was the stumbling and bumbling of its co-CEOs who made every conference call a winner -- for us at least.
4. RIM's Terrible Twos -- published July 29, 2011
Grab your life vests everybody. The brass at Research In Motion ( RIMM) is rearranging the deck chairs on Noah's Ark. Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but our mixed-up friends behind the BlackBerry once again bewildered Wall Street Monday when they announced plans to pair up more senior officers while slashing staff on the sinking ship by roughly 10%, or 2,000 workers. RIM said the intention is "to focus on areas that offer the highest growth opportunities and alignment with RIM's strategic objectives." Shares of the company did anything but grow in response to the plan, contracting over 3% on news of the restructuring. Wait! Sorry again. We forgot that RIM's co-CEOs don't want to refer to this as a "restructuring" or "reorganization." Michael Lazaridis and James Balsillie declared back in June that these layoffs are an attempt to "streamline" and "realign" the company's operations as part of a greater "cost optimization program." Boy, if this pair could only come up with a sales strategy as easily as euphemisms for canning people then maybe they wouldn't be in all this trouble. Sadly, that's not the case. And what's worse, according to the company's press release, the less-than-dynamic duo is expanding its silly strategy of doubling up employees in key C-Level roles. Thorsten Heins will be now taking on the expanded the role of COO, product and sales. And Jim Rowan will be assuming the expanded role of COO, operations, responsible for RIM's manufacturing, global supply chain and repair services. Furthermore, a host of other RIM executives will be mixed and matched as part of the company's overhaul, including Patrick Spence, who has been promoted to Managing Director, global sales and regional marketing, while Robin Bienfait will be maintain her current position of CIO, but will also take on responsibility for RIM's crucial enterprise business unit. Look, we have nothing against all the motion going on at RIM as they try to turn this boat around. But it did not take a lot of research for us to figure out that two heads are not always better than one at the company. We simply looked at the twosome at the top.