When Thorsten Heins was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on July 3, the picture he painted of Research in Motion (RIM) was a positive one, all but assuring consumers and investors that things were looking up and the company was not heading in the wrong direction, as many believed.
But what the CEO has been saying since taking over in January, and the reality of where the operating system currently stands, isn’t adding up. And with the June 29 announcement that latest line of phones will be delayed until 2013, BlackBerry’s leader is in hot water.
According to a report by The New York Times, when Heins makes his first public appearance at RIM’s annual meeting on July 10, he can expect an assault of displeasure from shareholders. Falling behind in popularity to smartphones such as iPhone and Android, shares in RIM have fallen 95% since mid-2008. In June, RIM posted a quarterly loss of $518 million.
It’s not only the sales, or lack thereof, that Heins will have to face. Shareholder lawsuits may be on the horizon as Heins and senior executives have not backed up the promises they have been making in public.
That leads to the following: Did Heins’ overconfidence put RIM in an unreasonable position in which it couldn't deliver on what he promised? And what public relations hit has RIM taken because its new CEO’s statements aren’t in line with the company’s productivity?
The Times cites a May 1 conference in which Heins unveiled a prototype BlackBerry 10 phone for app developers, going on to say “I promise to you that the whole company is laser-focused on delivering on time and exceeding your expectation.”
There has been no statement as to why BlackBerry 10’s release has been delayed.
So RIM's communications team not only has to deal with the reaction of the delayed phone release, but now, with potential lawsuits against the company.
Part of a CEO’s role is to generate excitement around his or her organization. But in this case, Heins’ optimism may have set up RIM for a lot of grief.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson