Research In Motion (RIM) on Monday said it will cut about 2,000 jobs and shake up its senior management ranks as the beleaguered mobile device maker looks to streamline operations.
RIM in a statement said it will notify North America-based employees impacted by the layoff, as well as those in other countries, this week. RIM's global workforce will be about 17,000 after the cuts are made, the company said.
RIM's management changes include moves for a handful of RIM's top executives, although there have been no changes announced for co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, both of whom have come under increasing scrutiny as RIM's growth has slowed. Both analysts and company shareholders have voice their frustrations over RIM, which has ceded territory in the smartphone landscape it once owned outright to Apple's iPhone and a legion of devices running Google Android.
Among the changes are that Thorstein Heins is now COO, product and sales, with all product engineering functions, including RIM's hardware and software teams, rolling up to him.
Patrick Spence is RIM's new managing director, global sales and regional marketing, and he'll be reporting to Heins. Spence previously headed up RIM's sales and regional operations in territories such as North America, Asia Pacific and EMEA.
Jim Rowan is also getting a COO title, as COO, operations. He'll focus on global supply chain and repair services, RIM said, and also oversee RIM's Cost Optimization Program with Brian Bidulka, RIM's CFO.
Finally, current RIM COO, BlackBerry, Don Morrison, currently on medical leave, will retire from the company after 10 years with RIM. In a statement, Balsillie and Lazaridis said Morrison's presence will be missed but with Morrison on medical leave, other executives had already taken up his duties at RIM, ensuring a smoother transition.
"We understand and respect his decision to retire after successfully dealing with a serious medical challenge and we wish him a quick recovery," the co-CEOs said.
Elsewhere, Robin Bienfalt will remain RIM's CIO, but also take responsibility for RIM's Enterprise Business Unit, which focuses on RIM products sold to enterprises. David Yach, RIM's CTO, will focus on RIM's software platforms, including its expanding app development community.
RIM will provide more details on the layoffs during its second quarter earnings report, scheduled for Sept. 15. For its first fiscal quarter, reported in June, RIM reported a 10 percent drop in sales and provided guidance significantly below what many analysts had expected.
It's hardly the only technology company facing layoffs. The biggest single-company layoff announced so far has been Cisco, which is cutting more than 10,000 when planned layoffs, early retirements and sale of a factory in Mexico are taken into account.