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RIM chairwoman Barbara Stymiest says board shakeup isn't over

RIM chairwoman Barbara Stymiest says board shakeup isn't over


New chairwoman Barbara Stymiest discussed further board changes, talent acquisitions, and change at RIM with Bloomberg Businessweek.

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In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, RIM’s new chairwoman Barbara Stymiest made clear that she is planning more changes to the director lineup in the future. Investors such as Jaguar Financial Corp., a merchant bank specializing in undervalued companies, have long criticized RIM — most recently for the continued presence on the board of ex-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, insisting that their replacement at the top with Stymiest and new CEO Thorsten Heins isn’t enough. While she didn't respond directly to these complaints, Stymiest was upbeat about the company's future prospects, believing the recent hire of Prem Watsa, an Indian-born investor, provides RIM with a lot of expertise in Asian markets, a foothold for the struggling company. In addition to further management changes, Stymiest discussed the division of labor within the organization, saying that Heins is "well-positioned" to focus on product execution, while her own job will be to supply "flawless oversight" of RIM’s management team, adding, "Driving change in an organization means a high-performing board and a high-quality management team. You get those two right and you can drive change quickly and effectively."

Stymiest was appointed the President and CEO of the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1999, where she served until joining the Royal Bank (RBC) as Chief Operating Officer in 2004. Fortune magazine named her one of the 50 most powerful women in global business three times between 2006 and 2008, before she left RBC last year, ostensibly to work on her charity work and golf game. Not everyone believes she has what it takes to turn RIM around, though — Jaguar CEO Vic Alboni remarked, "She’s been part of the problem. I don’t think she’s going to be strong enough to make the changes necessary."