Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
5/8/2012
01:10 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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RIM's New CMO, COO Face Herculean Task

Research In Motion's newest executives, announced Tuesday, have their work cut out for them as RIM tries to rescue its sagging fortunes.

Research In Motion announced two new executive hires Tuesday. CEO Thorsten Heins has said for several months that bringing on a chief marketing officer is a priority, and he has now completed that goal with the hiring of Frank Boulben. Heins also brought on a new chief operating officer, Kristian Tear.

RIM said Boulben is the former executive VP of strategy, marketing, and sales for nationwide 4G wireless service LightSquared. Boulben will oversee global marketing efforts at RIM.

"RIM is a pioneer in the mobile world and the BlackBerry brand is a global icon," said Boulben on RIM's blog. "We all know how fast the mobile arena evolves and with the BlackBerry 10 platform, I believe RIM will once again change the way individuals and enterprises engage with each other and the world around them. I could not resist the opportunity to be part of that transformation."

Boulben has his work cut out for him.

Heins admitted at BlackBerry World last week that the company badly needs to unify its message. Boulben will be in charge of those efforts. The company needs to completely reboot its marketing efforts--not to mention its image--in order to recapture some of the trust and respect it had in years past.

[ Learn more about the threats RIM is facing. See RIM Empire Didn't Strike Back At BlackBerry World. ]

RIM's latest marketing efforts have failed badly. For example, it petitioned outside an Apple retail store in Australia last week. The petitioners held placards that read "Wake Up!" RIM has likened iPhone users to sheep that need to be woken from their silly little dreams. Marketing campaigns such as this are going to get RIM nowhere. Please, Mr. Boulben, let's see something smarter and more effective.

Kristian Tear joins RIM from Sony Mobile Communications, where he served as executive VP. At RIM, Tear takes on the COO role, overseeing all operational functions for handhelds and services, including research and development, products, global sales, manufacturing, and supply chain.

"RIM is an important player in the mobile industry and I am excited to be a part of its future," said Tear on RIM's blog. "I look forward to working with the talented RIM employees and harnessing their ingenuity and creativity for the benefit of more than 77 million BlackBerry users around the world. I also look forward to helping RIM attract a brand new generation of BlackBerry users."

Tear has his work cut out for him, too.

The company needs to accelerate its BlackBerry 10 development efforts and get the platform to the market as soon as feasibly possible. The longer it takes RIM to bring BB10 to market, the further ahead its rivals will get. Not only does the platform need to be excellent, the smartphones themselves need to knock our collective socks off.

Welcome to Waterloo, Boulben and Tear. Good luck.

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