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RIM loses chief marketing officer

As Canada’s Research in Motion gets ready to launch what may be the most important product in years—the PlayBook tablet—the company is saying goodbye to one of the people who would seem most critical to that launch: chief marketing officer Keith Pardy. Pardy joined the company in December 2009 and was responsible for overall BlackBerry brand marketing; he’d come to RIM from Nokia, and before that had a long career at Coca-Cola.

RIM has not yet named a successor for Pardy, although the company says he’ll be staying on for another six months to ease the transition to a new marketing leader. In a a statement from RIM indicates Pardy is leaving for personal reasons to “pursue other opportunities.”

Pardy’s departure should not have a tremendous impact on how RIM markets the PlayBook, which the company is expected to release in a WiFi-only edition in the coming weeks—by now, marketing plans for the device should be near the end of execution, and be well beyond any planning stages.

However, any new chief of marketing at RIM is going to have a tough job as the company struggles to compete with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platform: RIM was once the dominant force in smartphones, particularly among corporate, government, and enterprise users. Although RIM retains a substantial marketshare in those segments, the company has had little luck extending its smartphone platform to consumers, who seem to opt for Android and Apple devices…and then bring the into their corporate environments.