RIM Co-Chairs Step Down

Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are no longer co-CEOs or co-chairmen of BlackBerry , the company announced Sunday night.

The new RIM CEO is their hand-picked successor, Thorsten Heins, who in July had been elevated to the post of chief operating officer of products and sales. (See RIM Cuts 2,000 Jobs.)

The new chairwoman of the board is Barbara Stymiest, who's been on the board since 2007 and was once a group executive at Royal Bank of Canada. All these changes took effect Sunday evening.

Balsillie and Lazaridis remain on the board, and Heins has been added to the board. Lazaridis is now the vice-chair and will head the board's Innovation Committee.

Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial, has also been added to the board. His firm has become one of RIM's biggest shareholders, as The Globe and Mail notes. Why this matters
It's the predictable (and some would say long-awaited) end of an era for RIM, the maker of BlackBerry devices. Shareholders had been calling for the co-CEOs' heads, and rumors early this month said the company was finally ready to respond.

Heins is now left with the unenviable task of battling Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) in the smartphone and tablet markets.

For more
RIM hasn't had it easy in recent months. Here's a quick review.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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