Dear RIM Board of Directors, change is good. Really good.

If the article in the Financial Post is true (RIM leaning toward new chairman: sources) it looks like the board is ready to make a move to finally begin helping the ailing BlackBerry maker. According to the article, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis will be replaced as Chairman by an independent board member in Barbara Stymiest.

Suppose this is in fact true and the board does replace the co-CEO’s with Ms. Stymiest, does this finally pave the way for change within the leadership of the organization as well? To take on this job and leave the company as is would be a farce. The board needs to govern and right now it is not doing its fiduciary requirements for the good of the company.

We all know the story of RIM’s ungraceful fall from glory in North America, it has been playing out in slow motion in front of our eyes for the better part of a year now.

Product delays, advertising missteps, colossal blown technology bets, media miscues and a leadership team that still maintain that we “don’t get them” are not board issues per se but action from the board should have been a result – long ago. When a company’s stock drops 75% in a calendar year there is usually action that results. When a company bets its life (and says as much publicly) on a product that didn’t hit the mark there is usually action that results. Token salary reductions by two billionaires signifies to me that they don’t get it. Action needs to happen.

The issues at hand here are compounded by the board but fall squarely on the leadership of the company. The only move the board should be making is a clean sweep of the co-CEO’s and bring a single person in to run the company. Product has failed, marketing has failed, morale has failed – these are leadership issues AND governing oversights because they have lasted so long without action.

It is very easy to run a company when things are going right – the true test is when things start to turn the other way. It is clear to most of the breathing world that still cares about this company that this leadership team has had its day with this company.

The board has been silent – in action – on the mismanagement of the company and the hope now is that a new Chairman of the RIM Board means change is afoot for the company. I hope it isn’t too late to save this bastion of Canadian technology.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

  • Mobilista

    Move on, nothing to see here, RIM is finished! Only Apple, Msft and Android will rule mobile for the next 10 yrs or so.

  • Thank you very much for the comment @37fdb9cdcb083ca5e1cee2a12269cae2:disqus 

    Not sure they are finished – record sales everywhere but North America – but I get your point. The way they do things needs to change, the leadership needs to change, the box they’ve build around what they do needs to change and if they don’t, they are done.
    As for it being an Apple, Microsoft and Android world for the next 10 years – that’s a bold prediction 🙂 and one that is impossible to predict right now. Lots going on – too much to know what the next 12 months will look like.

  • Pingback: RIM should “Be Bold” and give away the BlackBerry PlayBook for free |

  • Anonymous

    Don’t blame CEO, they want RIM win.
    RIM has strange culture and self distruct political environment.
    In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.
    It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM’s management may be a typical instance in MBA course.
    This culture deny or steal hardworking team members’ contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.
    So don’t blame CEO, some of their VPs and VPs’ expert generate terrible culture and self destruct political environment.

/* ]]> */