John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

RIM Director: Our New CEO Isn’t a Moron Like the Rest of You

Research In Motion’s leadership change was a long time coming, not because its former co-CEOs refused to cede power, but because there was no one inside the company or out who was capable of running it properly — until now.


Seriously, says RIM director Roger Martin, who scoffs at anyone who argues that the strategic missteps that left RIM in the sorry state it’s in today might have been avoided had RIM appointed a new CEO sooner. Until newly appointed CEO Thorsten Heins stepped up a few months back, there was no one qualified to do that.

Just infants and idiots and the critics calling for RIM to hire one of them.

“So we’re supposed to hand it over to children, or morons from the outside who will destroy the company?” Martin told the Globe and Mail. “Or should we try to build our way to having succession? … I laugh at the vast majority of critics when they say ‘Oh, you should have made this CEO transition, like, four years ago.’ Yeah, right — like, to who?”

Oh, I dunno. Someone less myopic than the company’s previous leadership. Someone less complacent, someone who didn’t have their head in the sand when Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android first began to emerge as a threat back in 2007 — or at least pulled it out before 2011. Someone capable of infusing RIM with the culture of innovation it so sorely lacks?

But evidently that’s just too difficult for an entrenched RIM insider like Martin to see.

To be fair, Martin — who also serves as dean of business at the University of Toronto — does concede that RIM’s former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie had made mistakes. But he insists that ousting them earlier would have been sheer folly. “People just don’t understand the depth of understanding these guys have of their business, the connections,” Martin said. “[Critics] ask ‘Why can’t you be more like Apple?’ So we should go bankrupt and fire our founders and bring in a moron? That’s what we should do?”

Have I mentioned Martin is dean of U of T’s Rotman School of Management?

Anyway …

I think it’s safe to say that no one is suggesting RIM appoint an imbecile CEO. What they are saying is that RIM has lost its competitive edge, that its stock is a falling knife after an abysmal 2011, and that they have little faith in the management team responsible — a team that will continue to dictate the company’s course going forward.

Bringing in a moron at this point would be sheer folly.

Clearly, the company’s got one too many to deal with already.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik