As news hits us that the dual CEOs of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie step aside for new blood, will we see a brave new future for RIM and its flagship BlackBerry product, or does this spell the beginning of the end?
There are few examples of dual company heads throughout history, and this is because it is generally accepted as a bad idea. The CEO of a company takes ultimate responsibility for everything that happens, success or failure. They are there to manage the expectations of all the stakeholders, whether that be the staff, the customers, the suppliers or the shareholders. They are the ultimate ‘the buck stops here’ person. If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you need to speak to the person in charge, you would not expect to be asked ‘which one’!
It is also the role of the CEO to lead and inspire a company and its workers onwards and upwards, but who do the staff look to for this? RIM always touted a great combination of Jim as the technical guy and Mike as the sales wizard. This may look like a great combination, but the fact it is a two person package is where it falls over. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had similar complimentary skill sets, yet it was always clear who was in charge. If and when aliens land on our planet and say ‘take me to your leader’, most of us in the western world would say ‘oh, you will be wanting Obama then?’ We won’t be saying ‘which leader in particular?’
RIM has had its successes with its dual CEOs, but was the success due to that rare setup or despite of it? Former COO and new CEO (on his own) Thorsten Heins certainly has his work cut out as RIM has lost serious ground to its competitors over the last 12 months or so, amplified by its unacceptable network outage in 2011. I’ve made my decision already which you can read about in my blog post why my next mobile will not be a BlackBerry, I’m sure many more people feel the same way.
I can’t help but think it is going to get a lot worse for RIM before (and if) it starts to get better. Tell us what you think about the situation?