Jim Balsillie resigns amid poor RIM results

Research In Motion says former co-CEO Jim Balsillie is retiring and the company plans to conduct a strategic review of its business.

Former co-CEO and 2 execs leaving; company will focus on business market

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins says the company needs to make significant changes. (RIM/Canadian Press)

Research In Motion says former co-CEO Jim Balsillie is resigning from the board and the company plans to conduct a strategic review of its business.

That usually means a company is willing to entertain takeover bids from a potential buyer.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry maker also announced Thursday that two executives are parting ways with the company.

Chief technology officer David Yach will be retiring after 13 years at RIM. And Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations, is leaving after four years, having "decided to pursue other interests," according to a company news release.

Thorsten Heins, who replaced Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as CEO in January, said "significant change is needed" at the company.

That was in contrast to his earlier remarks that RIM did not have major issues to be addressed.

In after-hours trading, RIM shares were down two per cent.

RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie is leaving the company's board of directors after resigning as co-CEO in January. (Chris Young/Reuters)

The personnel announcements came as RIM reported weaker than expected results.

When factoring in a $355-million writedown of intangible assets known as goodwill, RIM said it had a loss of $125 million US or 24 cents per share in the fourth quarter.

The loss compared with a profit of $934 million or $1.78 per diluted share a year ago. Revenue fell to $4.2 billion, down from $5.6 billion.

During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and more than 500,000 PlayBook tablets.

The company had previously estimated its revenue would come in between $4.6 billion and $4.9 billion and that earnings per share would range between 80 and 95 cents.

The struggling technology firm also said it will cede most consumer markets and focus on business customers. Heins said the company can't succeed "if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people."

Activist shareholder Vic Alboini and chief executive of Jaguar Financial, who had been pushing for Balsillie to leave the company, said the departure of the former co-CEO was expected.

The decision to pursue a strategic review has been a long time coming and could help push up the company's value, he said.

"This is the key to creating shareholder value," Alboini said in an email. "Jaguar believes selecting and implementing smart strategic opportunities could result in an overall minimum share value of $30."

That's more than twice the current value of RIM's stock.

RIM also announced Thursday that it would no longer provide investors guidance about expected future earnings because of uncertainty in the U.S. market.

The company has been facing intense competition from Apple's iPad and devices using Google's Android operating system.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press