RIM: Dead Man Walking

When RIM’s new CEO, Thorsten Heins, was hired in January 2012 I wrote critically of his early comments which focused on tactics and not strategy. Even though RIM’s share price had, at that time, fallen sharply to $16.40 I warned that the lack of a clear corporate strategy would cause the shares to fall even further.

It’s now almost a half year later. RIM still has no strategic focus and, unsurprisingly, their share price has been cut in half. Don’t buy yet: the pain will continue.

Heins and RIM’s board should know that the key role of a CEO is to set direction. Simply. Clearly. Cogently. Heins has had the job for almost six months and has yet to put forth a coherent vision. In fact, his July 3, 2012 Globe and Mail column demonstrates his distinct lack of focus. He has no customer focus: his comments range across “enterprise customers”, “consumers”, “government agencies” and the “Fortune 500”. He has no geographic focus but shifts from “global” to “local” to “community”. He offers no technological focus (other than the Great BB10 which lurks nearby but always out of reach) but variously mentions carrier relationships, reliability, security and connectedness.

Most distressing of all Heins admonishes the “pundits and market watchers” for prematurely writing RIM’s epitaph. What choice do we have but to write this story, Mr. Heins, when you haven’t provided us with a clear and compelling story of your own?

RIM’s share price will continue its free-fall as RIM aimlessly meanders its way to irrelevancy.