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Decoding RIM's Press Release

Research in Motion announced today that Co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, are stepping down. Allow me to decode the press release.

The Board of Directors of BlackBerry® maker Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced that, acting on the recommendation of its Co-Chief Executive Officers to implement the succession plan they previously submitted to the Board, it has unanimously named Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Heins was also appointed to RIM’s Board. The Board acted after conducting its own due diligence. Both appointments are effective immediately.

“The clueless leaders of Blackberry® maker Research In Motion (RIM) today announced that shareholders finally forced us to remove Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as Co-CEOs. Despite how badly things have gone, we think it is smart to promote from within by naming Thorsten Heins as CEO.”

Mike Lazaridis, former Co-Chair and Co-CEO, has become Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee. As Vice Chair, he will work closely with Mr. Heins to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide.

“We don’t have the balls to completely remove Mike Lazaridis. We - a company long mired in stagnation - do have the balls to tell you he will lead an Innovation Committee. We will stroke his ego by allowing him to annoy the new CEO.”

Mr. Heins said he looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Lazaridis, globally recognized as a technology pioneer. He said, “Mike created a whole new way of communicating and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration.”

“Mr. Heins noted that all of Mike Lazaridis’s accomplishments, much like RIM, live in the past. He said ‘I look forward to baby sitting Mike.’”

On the transition to CEO by Mr. Heins, Mr. Lazaridis said, “There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership. Jim and I went to the Board and told them that we thought that time was now. With BlackBerry 7 now out, PlayBook 2.0 shipping in February and BlackBerry 10 expected to ship later this year, the company is entering a new phase, and we felt it was time for a new leader to take it through that phase and beyond. Jim, the Board and I all agreed that leader should be Thorsten Heins.”

“On being shit-canned, Mr Lazaridis said, ‘There comes a time when delusional founders still think they are leading a successful company. Shareholder fury forces them to acknowledge reality. Jim and I argued with the Board, but they still fired our asses.’”

Jim Balsillie remains a member of the Board. “I agree this is the right time to pass the baton to new leadership, and I have complete confidence in Thorsten, the management team and the company,” he said. “I remain a significant shareholder and a Director and, of course, they will have my full support.”

“Jim Balsillie, somehow still on the Board: ‘I disagree with this decision and I think Thorsten is an idiot. I am rich so I don’t care what happens from here forward.’”

Mr. Lazaridis added, “Thorsten has demonstrated throughout his tenure at RIM that he has the right mix of leadership, relevant industry experience and skills to take the company forward. We have been impressed with his operational skills at both RIM and Siemens. I am so confident in RIM’s future that I intend to purchase an additional $50 million of the company’s shares, as permitted, in the open market.”

“Mr. Lazaridis, still talking, ‘I guess it is time to start kissing Thorsten’s ass. I am purchasing $50 million in additional stock because it can’t get much worse.’”

{Insert 7 paragraphs of deluded talking points from Mr. Heins.}

“Mr. Heins asked, ‘What have I agreed to?’”

Barbara Stymiest, who formerly served as a member of Royal Bank of Canada’s Group Executive and has been a member of RIM’s Board since 2007, has been named the independent Board Chair. John Richardson, formerly Lead Director, will remain on the Board. Prem Watsa, Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings, also was named to the Board, expanding it to 11 members.

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Ms. Stymiest said: “We believe that Thorsten is the right executive to succeed Mike and Jim. He has 27 years of telecommunications experience, including four years at RIM in senior management positions. As a Board, we have been impressed with his outstanding management skills, his leadership and his accomplishments within the company.”

“Barbs was named Board Chair. We added Prem because we believe the more the merrier. Speaking in a desperate tone, Barbs said: ‘We hope Thorsten will save our jobs. We are impressed with his yes-man-ship.’”

Ms. Stymiest also expressed the Board’s respect and admiration for Messrs. Lazaridis and Balsillie, the company they built, and the steps they have taken to position RIM for the future.

“They created RIM, nurtured it, and in the process not only built an iconic brand, but literally pioneered the smartphone industry,” she said. “It is Canada’s largest tech company and one of the largest in the world.”

“Barbs: ‘Mike and Jim created RIM, gained brand recognition, lead the smartphone industry, and then did nothing as Apple and Google destroyed our brand.’”

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