Beware the Temptation of Thorsten Heins

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Research in Motion ( RIMM) is due to report their fourth quarter after the close of business on Thursday and few are expecting invigorating results. Quite the opposite. Hopped-up competition from Apple ( AAPL) and a series of lamebrain moves have conspired against the once mighty company.

But it might be worse than expected: the result of a single factor the media is completely ignoring.

Simply put, CEO Thorsten Heins has just completed his first full quarter in charge. Traditionally, CEO's have taken that opportunity to release every last morsel of bad news possible, blaming it on the old guard. The pressure to fob troubles off on predecessors, granting a cleaner slate, might be even greater in Heins' case. His tenure started on laughable footing when he surveyed RIMM's dire fortunes and came out with a statement that fell into instant infamy:

"I don't think that there is a drastic change needed."

But Barron's ran a curtain opener for the earnings report, touching upon a myriad of factors, but making no mention of Heins' standing as a rookie.

Forbes built an article, "Research In Motion: Still More Cautious Street Commentary," around Wall Street analyst takes, none of which included a mere mention that it Heins' first quarter, much less its implications.

Zacks went fairly positive, mentioning, "strong brand image coupled with continuous increase in subscribers will drive the stock going forward." They did not even nod in the direction of what might be decisive.

The Globe and Mail at least let traders know up top that Mr. Heins was in the saddle for his first conference call, though they did not note that he might take the occasion to throw a kitchen sink of trouble at his predecessors.

When it comes to RIMM's fourth quarter report, just remember -- because the media won't tell you -- that the neophyte Heins will have the temptation, motivation and opportunity to throw extra troubles his predecessor's way.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

If you liked this article you might like

The #DigitalSkeptic Guide To Mobile Gadgets that Won't Break on You

5 Telecommunications Stocks Nudging The Industry Higher

Research In Motion Ltd (RIMM): Today's Featured Telecommunications Laggard

5 Stocks Pulling The Telecommunications Industry Downward

Research In Motion Ltd (RIMM): Today's Featured Telecommunications Laggard