Photo: Associated Press
As BlackBerry maker RIM continues to disappoint investors, calls are getting louder for one or both of its co-CEOs to step down.On tonight’s earnings call, both CEOs showed up, and about halfway through their prepared remarks, made the case for their jobs.
Specifically, as co-CEO Jim Balsillie said, they wanted to address recent concerns in the media and analyst community surrounding RIM’s executive management structure.
Basically, the co-CEOs argued that they built RIM into what it is now, that their painful transition period was almost over, and that an outsider wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Jim Balsillie kicked it off:
“Mike and I have been partners in this business for almost 20 years. And over that time, RIM has grown to $20 billion in annual revenue and has successfully navigated through many challenging times.
We’re currently approaching the tail end of a significant transition in our business, and frankly few companies would have been able to survive. But we have.
And I believe, and I think Mike would agree, that neither of us could have taken the company this far alone, and that completing the transition and taking the company to the next level of success and growth is also something neither of us can do alone, and something that would be incredibly challenging for someone from outside the company to manage successfully at this critical time in RIM’s development.”
Then Mike Lazaridis took over:
“Thanks, Jim. I agree with Jim’s comments, and I absolutely believe that the complementary skill sets and good working relationship between Jim and I led to the success of RIM over the past 2 decades.
I also believe that strong, consistent leadership is critical to successfully leveraging the substantial investments we’ve been making in BlackBerry 7, QNX, and all the products that are about to launch in fiscal 2012.
Our commitment to RIM is stronger than ever, and we know what we have to do jointly to accomplish and take RIM to the next stage of growth and success. Jim and I recognise each other’s strengths, and regularly discuss and work together to determine the best way to execute on the incredible market opportunity ahead of us. We understand that weathering this transition has been difficult for our shareholders and also for our employees. We are grateful for the support you’ve shown us.
I truly believe we are approaching the final phase of this transition. While I can’t promise that there won’t be bumps in the road ahead, I can assure you that Jim and I have never been more committed to the business, and that our interests remain closely aligned with those of our shareholders.”
Later in the call, they went on an unscripted mission to explain their responsibilities and how they’ve shifted, but this part was largely indecipherable. Basically, they work together on stuff, and Jim travels more. You’re welcome to read our live notes for more.
While they make some fair points, it’s up to them to execute now. If they don’t completely turn RIM around — and there is a good chance they won’t be able to — one or both of them could easily be gone within a year.
Related: RIM CEO Keeps Saying Insane Things
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