Struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) announced on Tuesday that it has hired a new chief operating officer and chief marketing officer, the latest in a series of executive shakeups at the company.
Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM appointed Frank Boulben, former executive vice president at wireless firm LightSquared, as its new chief marketing officer. Boulben, 45, who has also held senior positions at wireless carriers Vodafone and Orange, will oversee RIM's global marketing efforts, the company said.
Meanwhile, Kristian Tear, former executive vice president of Sony Mobile Communications, is RIM's new chief operating officer. Tear, 48, will oversee all operational functions for handhelds and services.
"Kristian and Frank bring extensive knowledge of the rapidly changing wireless global market and will help RIM as we sharpen our focus on delivering long-term value to our stakeholders," Thorsten Heins, RIM's new president and CEO, said in a statement. "Most importantly, both Kristian and Frank possess a keen understanding of the emerging trends in mobile communications and computing."
The announcement follows several disappointing financial quarters in a row as the company struggles to deal with the popularity of Apple's iPhone and smartphones based on Google's Android in the consumer market, even as those devices are increasingly invading the enterprise space once dominated by RIM.
In the most high profile departure, former co-CEO Jim Balsillie stepped down from his position on RIM's board of directors in late March. Balsillie and former co-CEO Mike Laziridis had resigned in January to make way for Heins, but Balsillie's decision to leave the company entirely was still surprising.
Last month, RIM announced the departure of Alistair Mitchell, former vice president of BBM Platform and Integrated Services, and Alan Brenner, senior vice president in charge of the BlackBerry Platform. In March, the company also parted ways with David Yach, its chief software technology officer, and Jim Rowan, chief operation officer for Global Operations. And those were just the latest high-profile RIM employees to leave, starting with former chief marketing officer Keith Pardy in March 2011.
But Heins is promising big changes at RIM in an effort to right the ship. The BlackBerry maker plans to abandon efforts to penetrate certain consumer markets while refocusing on the enterprise and public sector segments.
The company's future rests on its upcoming BlackBerry 10 (BB10) software platform for future handsets and tablets, Heins said in late March, pledging that the new operating system would be the foundation of RIM's business for years to come.