/// RIM Co-CEOs to Critics: We’re Awesome and We’re Not Going Anywhere
Research in Motion co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have an answer for critics calling for their ouster , or at least the end of their power-sharing arrangement. Take off, eh ? We’re doing a great job. During a bizarre earnings call Thursday, the two defended the company’s co-CEO structure essentially by praising one another and their accomplishments together, which, while considerable in the long view, are more than a bit lacking in the short term, as a quick glance at the company’s stock performance this year — or its moldering handset portfolio — will tell you. “Mike and I would like to address some of the concerns that have been expressed surrounding the executive management structure at RIM and, specifically, the joint nature of our leadership,” Balsillie said. “Mike and I have been partners in this business for almost 20 years, and during that time RIM has grown to $20 billion in annual revenue. We are currently approaching the tail end of a significant transition in our business, that, frankly, few companies would have survived. But we have. And I believe, and I think Mike would agree, that neither of us could have taken RIM this far alone.” “I agree with Jim’s comments,” Lazaridis added. “Our co-CEO arrangement is what led to RIM’s success over the past two decades.” That point is well taken; there’s no question the two are responsible for turning RIM into an industry juggernaut. But that’s ancient history now. These are very different times, and Balsillie’s implication that he and Lazaridis are the only two executives on the face of the planet capable of continuing RIM’s legacy seems … questionable. ‘”I expect to see the Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup before RIM builds a number one phone.” – Bing Gordon, Kleiner Perkins After all, it’s RIM’s strategic missteps that brought the company to this sorry state in the first place. And responsibility for those rests firmly with the co-CEOs, who clearly had their heads in the sand when Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android first began to emerge as a threat back in 2007. Yet Balsillie and Lazaridis seem entirely oblivious to this.