Canada's best corporate drama has a new leading man. Last night, Research In Motion appointed Thorsten Heins, one of two chief operating officers, as its new chief executive. Heins replaces the duo of CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who ran the company together for the last 20 years. Under the unusual co-CEO leadership structure, Balsillie and Lazaridis led RIM to become the leader in smartphones before the iPhone and Android began decimating the BlackBerry's market share in 2007.
The last two years have been particularly demoralizing for RIM's approximately 17,000 employees, as they've seen the company go from owning 43% of the smartphone market in early 2010, to just 16.6% today. This summer, the company laid off 2,000 employees, or about 10% of its workforce. The company's stock price has plummeted 88% from a high of $150 in mid-2008, to as low as $18 last week.
Now all eyes are on Heins to see if he can restore RIM and once again make it the pride of Waterloo, Ontario. Heins, a 54-year-old German, joined RIM In 2007 from Siemens AG, where he was chief technology officer. In his seven-minute YouTube video addressing RIM's employees he said the company can be one of the top three players in wireless, called for more discipline in product development, and said he will listen to the voices of employees. Investor and entrepreneur Paul Kedrosky wrote on Twitter that the message was "prom video meets un-coachable corporate droid." Give the guy a chance!
Why the Jobs Left (NYT)
The iPhone was invented in the Cupertino, Calif., headquarters of Apple Inc., but virtually none of the 70 million smartphones that Apple sold last year were manufactured in the U.S. That helps explain why the U.S. lost 687,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs over the last decade. Chinese workers are both cheaper and can be called to work in the middle of the night.
Boston's Skyword will hire 40 new employees this year after raising $6 million in new financing. The 39-person company helps Web writers tailor their content to the rules of search engine optimization.
Management Shakeup (WSJ)
Intel has appointed Senior Vice President Brian Krzanich as its newest chief operating officer, and Executive Vice President Dadi Perlmutter as its chief product officer. Krzanich is seen as a possible CEO candidate once current CEO Paul Otellini retires in 2016.
Speaking Up (NYT)
The chief executive of GenArts, Katherine Hays, talks about selling one of her first companies to Microsoft, why she looks for employees who "own" the outcome of their work, and how she thinks about leadership from the perspective of an athlete.
When Adobe, Apple, Google and other tech companies were conspiring to not poach each other's employees in 2007, Steve Jobs received a blunt note from then-Palm Chief Executive Ed Colligan. The practice was not only wrong, Colligan wrote, but "likely illegal."
Continental Drift (WSJ)
Meet Matt Brittin, Google's main main in Europe. He's got a tough challenge battling regulators concerned about the company's monopoly. Brittin says the scrutiny is just a byproduct of the company's success.
Government Funded (Chicago Tribune)
Iowa is known as the first stop in the presidential primary season, but it also has something of a tech scene in downtown Des Moines called "Silicon Sixth." One firm in the state, Tactical 8 Technologies, will hire at least 23 employees after receiving $330,000 in state money.
Like It Is (TechCrunch)
Groupon Chief Executive Andrew Mason says his company is a "cyborg" that would go to "hell" if its employees decided to take off a few days. The company now has 10,000 employees, with about 70% of them working overseas.
Buzz Around the Office
Dashboard camera to the rescue!
List of the Day: Affection Faux Pas
How physically chummy do you get with your colleagues? Before opening your arms, stop and think whether your workplace would tolerate the seemingly innocent act.
1. Consider where you are. A business luncheon would not be ideal.
2. Don't do it if it could be misinterpreted at sexual harassment.
3. When in doubt, offer a handshake.
(Source: AOL Jobs)