Thorsten Heins takes over as CEO at Research In Motion

RIM's co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie step aside as company unveils succession plan

Research In Motion's co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have quit after a tumultuous period at the company, which saw intense competition, and a long services outage at the maker of the BlackBerry.

An insider, Thorsten Heins, who was formerly the COO of the company, has taken charge as president and CEO, to implement the succession plan previously submitted to the Board by the former co-CEOs, RIM said in a statement late Sunday.

Lazaridis and Balsillie have also quit their positions as co-chairmen, and director Barbara Stymiest takes over as the new chairman. Lazaridis, a founder of the company, will become vice chairman, and Balsillie will remain a board member.

Lazaridis will also chair a newly created "Innovation Committee". He will work closely with the new CEO to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide, RIM said.

Heins joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December, 2007 as senior vice president for hardware engineering and became COO for product and sales in August last year. Lazaridis and Balsillie have been under pressure to quit from investors for some time.

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