RIM COO retires as company lays off one-tenth of staff

The BlackBerry maker will lay off 2,000 of its 19,000 staff as part of a cost-reduction program

Research in Motion will lay off 2,000 staff, or a little more than 10 percent of its workforce, and make changes to its senior management team, it announced Monday. Chief Operating Officer for Blackberry, Don Morrison, will retire, but Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis will continue to share the CEO role and that of chairman.

The layoffs will happen this week in the U.S., while in other countries there may be a delay to comply with local employment laws, RIM said.

The job cuts will leave RIM with 17,000 staff. Just five years ago, the company had around 5,000 staff, it said.

The company will disclose one-time charges associated with the layoffs when it publishes results for its fiscal second quarter on Sept. 15.

Morrison is on temporary medical leave, and will retire without returning to the company. The management changes are largely to cover for his departure.

His role will be split in two: Thorsten Heins will become COO, product and sales, adding sales and new engineering responsibilities to his portfolio. Previously in charge of the BlackBerry smartphone portfolio, he will take on responsibility for all hardware and software product engineering functions. Jim Rowan will become COO, operations, adding organizational development and facilities management functions to his existing responsibilities for manufacturing, global supply chain and repair services.

CIO Robin Bienfait and CTO David Yach will also take on additional responsibilities, while Patrick Spence will become managing director for global sales and regional marketing, reporting to Heins.

Two senior staff untouched by the reshuffle are co-CEOs Balsillie and Lazaridis, who also share the role of chairman. This is despite calls from shareholder groups for more clarity in the roles of the co-CEOs and the appointment of an independent chairman.

RIM made a small concession to these shareholder groups on June 30, agreeing to create a committee of independent directors to propose a recommended governance structure for the company. In return, shareholder Northwest & Ethical Investments agreed to withdraw a proposal to divide the role of chairman and CEO. As a result, RIM was spared an embarrassing vote at its June 12 shareholder meeting.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonesBlackberrybusiness issuespersonnelconsumer electronicslayoffsresearch in motion

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?