Waterloo Region’s tech community is looking forward to working with Thorsten Heins, the new president and CEO of Research In Motion.
“Communitech and its members have always stood behind RIM as firmly as RIM has stood behind us,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, which has represented the region’s tech sector for 15 years. “We’re excited and eager to work with Thorsten as RIM moves forward with its platform transition,” Klugman said, adding that Heins has already been in touch to affirm that the company’s deep commitment to Waterloo Region is unchanged.
Heins, 54, joined RIM in 2007 after a long and successful career at Siemens AG in Germany. He most recently served as RIM’s chief operating officer of product engineering.
He succeeds co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis, who founded RIM in 1984, and Jim Balsillie, who joined the company in 1992. Both men will remain on RIM’s board of directors, which will be chaired by Barbara Stymiest. The board has also expanded to 11 members with the appointment of Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings.
“Mike and Jim’s achievements have been monumental, not only in mobile technology but in making the world smarter and more humane,” Klugman said of the longtime RIM leaders. “The BlackBerry created the smartphone market and changed the way we communicate, and their philanthropy set a new standard for giving in Canada,” he added, referring to the world-leading think tanks Lazaridis and Balsillie established in Waterloo.
Global experts housed at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute for Quantum Computing, both spearheaded by Lazaridis, and at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Balsillie School of International Affairs, spurred by Balsillie, are grappling with fundamental questions about how the world works, from different perspectives.
With 800 technology related companies, including more than 400 active startups, the region’s technology sector continues to grow in size and scope, fuelled by the success and leadership of stalwart firms such as RIM, OpenText and Christie Digital, Klugman said.
“Entrepreneurs looking to build the next RIM have long looked to Mike and Jim for inspiration and proof that hard work and ingenuity pay off,” he said. “We’re excited to support RIM and Thorsten Heins in taking the company to the next level.”