RIM loses another exec, reportedly starts layoffs

RIM headquarters

Canada’s Research in Motion might be putting on a brave face that everything is peachy-keen with their business—but investors have been hammering the company’s share price, and apparently RIM isn’t a big hit with some of its employees, either. Yesterday, the company said farewell to its chief marketing officer Brian Wallace, who will be moving over to smartphone rival Samsung. And while the company has not confirmed anything, the Waterloo Region Record—a local Ontario paper near RIM’s headquarters—reports the company is already handing out layoff notices.

The moves come immediately in the wake of a disappointing quarterly earnings report in which the company failed to meet already-lowered earnings expectations, and announced it expected its revenues to continue to decline for the rest of the year. Although the company is not losing money—RIM earned almost $700 million in profit last quarter—the performance is far less than investors hoped for, as they wait for the iconic phone maker to come up with products that compete successfully in the consumer smartphone space with devices running Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems.

Wallace’s defection from the RIM follows barely three months after the departure of RIM’s chief marketing officer Keith Pardy, who had been responsible for all BlackBerry brand marketing. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie had taken on more promotional duties when Pardy left the company; Wallace’s departure will place that much more pressure on Balsillie.

The Waterloo Region Record gave no details of the layoffs, but noted the company has about 9,000 employees in the Ontario area and a total of about 17,500 workers worldwide.

RIM’s stock is down more than 50 percent for the year, and Barron’s financial weekly—which was still bullish on RIM as recently as two months ago now says it “goofed,” saying investors only choice now is to sell shares to minimize their losses. “The company’s best hope now is a takeover, but there’s no suitor in sight,” the paper wrote.


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