RIM Director: Long Delay in CEO Change was Super Smart

Reseach In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) Director Roger Martin made some very evocative statements towards critics who feel the company waited far too long to appoint a new CEO.

In comments to the Globe and Mail that read almost like a drunken rant, “So we’re supposed to hand it over to children, or morons from the outside who will destroy the company? Or should we try to build our way to having succession?” Martin then went on, “I laugh at the vast majority of critics when they say ‘Oh, you should have made this CEO transition, like, four years ago.’ Yeah, right — like, to who?”

The petulant comments fly in the face of almost universal disappointment and criticism of RIM over the past  years, though it’s should not be considered surprising from someone who was deeply entrenched in an executive culture that seemed to ignore the fact that the company was falling far behind competitors such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), whose iOS have completely overtaken RIM’s Blackberry devices in market share, and have made innovations that have otherwise, rather unequivocally, left RIM’s in the dust.  RIM’s stock also continues to fall, and many are concerned, despite the transition to new CEO  Thorsten Heins, that RIM’s old, ineffective management team is still calling too many of the shots and are unlikely to turn the company around.  Some analysts even believe that the best move RIM can make, realistically, is to sell itself.

Martin, who is also the Dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business does concede that the two previous co-CEO’s Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazardis made mistakes but he lashes out at anyone who feels the company should have reacted sooner or better emulated its competitors: ““[Critics] ask ‘Why can’t you be more like Apple?’ So we should go bankrupt and fire our founders and bring in a moron? That’s what we should do?”

John Paczkowski at All Things D put things rather succinctly while conceding Martin’s point: “Bringing in a moron at this point would be sheer folly. Clearly, the company’s got one too many to deal with already.”

Here’s how RIMM shares are trading now:

Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM): RIMM shares recently traded at $15.17, down $0.27, or 1.75%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $42.53 to $70.54. Volume today was 7,605,052 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 12,201,500 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 3.57, while trailing earnings are $4.25 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morris at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com