The business on...Jim Balsillie, Mike Lazaridis, Joint CEOs, Research in Motion
Saturday 02 July 2011
Two for the price of one in this column today?
Yes, we are talking about the Zaphod Beeblebrox of the smartphone industry, the pair of heads at the company that makes the BlackBerry.
And two heads are better than one?
The pair have been running RIM jointly since 1992, a good six years before it invented the BlackBerry, and turned it into Canada's most famous company, so you might think so. Except that suddenly, everyone seems to want to sever one of the heads.
Corporate governance campaigners have never liked the blurred lines of accountability, and after two profit warnings in two months investors have turned on the co-chief executive idea. And then this week an anonymous open letter, supposedly from a "senior executive", has been floating round the internet, stoking the issue.
Can a letter be both open and anonymous?
It may well be a fake but as well as complaining about everything, from bureaucracy at the company to the fact that it is called RIM not BlackBerry, it tells Messieurs Lazaridis and Balsillie to step back. Apple's iPhone and phones using Google's Android software are trouncing BlackBerry, and there's an air of panic about the place.
But you said the two-headed thing worked well for almost two decades?
Mr Lazaridis, who emigrated to Canada from Turkey as a child, is the technical brains. He had read every science book in his local library before he was a teenager. Mr Balsillie, who is the archetypal Harvard MBA graduate and has a passion for ice hockey, complements him by concentrating on marketing and smooching investors.
RIM now says it will set up a board committee to examine the management structure. So don't be surprised to see an enforced divorce. It is certainly easier than fixing the company.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial: Case turns into a bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Liam Neeson on death of wife Natasha Richardson: ‘When I hear the door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her’
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
- 5 Livr: A social network only for drunk people
iJobs Money & Business
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Mixed Ta...