A good thing or a bad thing? When The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that RIM’s first and only Chief Marketing Officer Keith Pardy was leaving after a little more than a year on the job, the reaction was swift and decisive.
Pardy, a Newfoundland native who held similar positions at Coke and Nokia, is reportedly leaving for personal reasons and will stay with the Blackberry maker for a six-month transition period.
RIM is left “utterly rudderless in promoting its Playbook” said Electronista, a self described “gadget site for geeks.” The move “likely dampens sentiment further and perhaps reinforces RIMM’s struggles transforming itself from an enterprise-centric company to one much more focused on selling consumer products with a brand cachet that could rival Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).” said UBS analyst Amitabh Passi.
But with the benefit of a weekend’s perspective some counter arguments are emerging that have a similar theme. Namely, if something isn’t working, why not change it?
Jack Gold, an analyst from J. Gold Associates, said the shakeup could be a good thing: “They need to get their momentum back,” he told Computerworld. “Apple and Android have put intense pressure on them. And with new product coming soon (PlayBook and new devices/OS with ONX) they need to redefine to the world why you should buy a BlackBerry and get the world to listen to the message. That is the challenge as I see it for their marketing group.”
Chris Nerney at IT World perceives the move as an outright positive. “I guess not enough investors have heard what great things the CMO’s departure means for RIM” he said, adding that “My guess is that RIM — or more specifically, co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie — needed to demonstrate to shareholders and the board their willingness to make big changes in order to regain its footing in the mobile computing market. It’s a lot easier to force out a senior-level executive than it is to make your products more competitive and get them out the door faster.”
Research in Motion has not yet confirmed the launch date of BlackBerry Playbook, but rumors say the heavily anticipated tablet will launch on April 10th.
Below: RIM Executives talk about the BlackBerry Playbook