Thorsten Heins, 54, the youthful-looking new chief executive at Research In Motion, brings a long history of technical and organizational accomplishment to the job.

Here's a rundown on RIM's new CEO (whose name is pronounced "TOR-sten HYNZ").

  • Date of birth: Dec. 29, 1957, in Gifhorn, Germany.
  • Education: Master’s degree in science and physics from the University of Hanover.
  • Previous experience: After graduation, Heins joined the German technical giant and phone-maker Siemens AG, where he spent 23 years, rising through the ranks of customer service, sales and product-management positions. After serving as head of several business divisions in the communication business, he became chief technology officer.

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Thorsten Heins, 54, new CEO. (RIM)

  • RIM experience: Joined Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM in December 2007, becoming senior vice-president for the handheld business unit. In 2011, as part of a management shakeup, he became one of two chief operating officers, specializing in product engineering in both the hardware and software divisions. The company announced Jan. 22 that he would be the new chief executive, replacing both Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. Immediately after, RIM posted a series of videos to YouTube, introducing Heins and his outlook for the company (see below).
  • Personal life: Heins is married, and has a daughter and a son. His interests include bicycling, motorcycling, skiing and hiking.
  • Compensation: Total about $1.92 million US in 2011.
  • Quote on growing RIM's business: When asked during morning conference call how he would steer the embattled company to greater success, Heins said, "I want us to have a bit more of an ear to the consumer market, understanding trends, not just listening to what Bay Street is telling you. We need to do a better job on that."
  • Quote on the current team at RIM: "I have all the ingredients I need to take this company to a great future," Heins told CBC News Network.
  • What's been said about Heins: "At Siemens, he made some tough decisions, he ran some divisions, and made some very, very difficult choices. We would expect that he would do that here as well,"  Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in New York, told CBC radio reporter Mike Hornbrook. "He has what it takes to do the job, for now – we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt."

Heins introduces himself on YouTube