CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie step down from RIM jobs

The joint chief executive officers of Research in Motion, the manufacturer of the BlackBerry, have resigned from their roles with the company's former chief operating officer taking their place.

Company founder Mike Lazaridis will become vice chairman and Jim Balsillie will take a non-operational role on the board of directors, while Thorsten Heins becomes the new president and CEO. Board member Barbara Stymiest is the new independent board chair.

The moves come as investors have been calling for a major strategy change after troubling recent times for the smartphone firm. It was publicly scapegoated in 2011 during the UK riots, with BlackBerry Messenger being (perhaps unfairly) named as a major form of communication for rioters. It suffered a major service outage, which hugely damaged its reputation. The PlayBook didn't sell as well as RIM hoped. And share prices have been dropping rapidly, leading some to believe that the company was even going to be put up for sale.

There is currently no suggestion that either Balsillie or Lazaridis were asked to step down, with the latter releasing a statement that he felt it was time for fresh blood to lead the company he founded:

"There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognise the need to pass the baton to new leadership," he said.

"Jim and I went to the Board and told them that we thought that time was now. With BlackBerry 7 now out, PlayBook 2.0 shipping in February and BlackBerry 10 expected to ship later this year, the company is entering a new phase, and we felt it was time for a new leader to take it through that phase and beyond."

New boss Heins is equally confident about the future of RIM:

"BlackBerry 7 has been well received. We are very excited about PlayBook 2.0 and BlackBerry 10. [And] the reception of our products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was encouraging," he said.

Do you think this the right move for RIM? Let us know in the comments below...



>