New CEO Won’t Help RIM, Say Analysts

There is little faith among some analysts that Thorsten Heins’ promotion to chief executive officer of Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:RIMM) will do much to help reverse the BlackBerry manufacturer’s steady downslide, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

With his recent promotion, Heins, 54, formerly the company’s chief operating officer, replaces co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. Shares of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company have plunged 75 percent in the past 12 months.

Balsillie and Lazaridis have faced blame for the company’s descent as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) have taken the lead in U.S. smartphone sales, a market RIM previously ruled, said the report. ComScore Inc. reports that in the three months ended in November, RIM’s share tumbled to 16.6 percent while devices using Google’s Android operating system jumped to 46.9 percent and Apple climbed to 28.7 percent, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

“There was enormous pressure for the company to make a change, and Jim and Mike wanted to make as little change as possible,” said Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. “To me, this change looks largely cosmetic.”

In a conference call, Heins said that he thinks there’s no need for “drastic change” at RIM. “Jim and Mike’s strategy of not sacrificing long-term value for short-term gain is the right one,” Heins said. “I share that value.”

Wolf said Lazaridis and Balsillie will remain on RIM’s board of directors where he believes they will have an influence on Heins’s leadership.