For a brief moment, I had hopes that RIM had made a move that would unseat it from the funk it’s been sitting in for years. And then I watched the introductory video of newly-appointed CEO Thorsten Heins. Anyone who assumes that a simple CEO swap is the answer to all of RIM’s issues is woefully misinformed, or worse, just blinded by false hope. Sure, removing Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis — both of which have been rightly criticized for not responding to market pressures quickly enough — is a start, but it’s not like they’re gone. In fact, the two are still situated at a pretty fancy table within Research in Motion’s organizational chart.
Have a listen at this: Mike is hanging around as the Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee. You heard right — the guy who has outrightly failed to innovate at anything in the past handful of years is now championing an innovation committee. Sounds right up his alley, no? Jim’s staying put as an outright director, and if you think anyone at RIM is going to brush aside the input of the founders, you’re wrong. Jim and Mike may have new titles, but they’re still here, and I have no reason to believe that they’ll act radically different going forward than they have in the past. Oh, and about Thorsten Heins? Let’s go there.