Research In Motion finally swapped out its CEOs, but investors are still less than impressed.



NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Research In Motion(:RIMM) has finally reshuffled its management team, announcing Thorsten Heins as its new CEO. Investors, however, are less than impressed, sending shares nearly 7% lower this morning.

Shares of RIM have lost 74.2% over the past year according to Google Finance, as the handset maker sheds market share and relevance in the smartphone market to Apple(:AAPL) and Google(:GOOG). Apple's stock, in contrast, has gained 28.6% over the same time period, while Google's has dipped just 4.2%.



Investors hoping for the new CEO to immediately draw a line under RIM's recent problems, though, may be disappointed.

"This is not a seismic change," Heins said on a conference call with investors on Monday, reiterating his desire not to split up the company. "I don't think there is some drastic change needed."

The company also named independent director Barbara Stymiest as the new Chairman of the Board, and appointed Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings(:FFH), to the board. Watsa has often been referred to as "Canada's Warren Buffet."

Barclays Capital analyst Jeff Kvaal, however, warned that the changes are insufficient, noting that the company should have brought in new blood. "RIM missed an opportunity to acquire some outside perspective by turning to Ms. Stymiest and Mr. Heins," he explained. Kvaal has a neutral rating and a $14 price target on shares.

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu agrees. A CEO with a "strong consumer electronics and supply chain background would have been ideal," he explained, in a note.

Heins takes over from Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who have seen the company they started turn from a technology titan, into a technology neophyte.

There had also been rumors earlier this year that Microsoft(:MSFT), Nokia(:NOK) and Amazon(:AMZN) all looked at potentially acquiring Research In Motion, but nothing ever came to fruition.

MKM PARTNERS analyst Michael Genovese said in a research note that he remained negative on RIM's fundamentals, warning that there may not be big changes at the company. Despite Lazaridis and Balsillie stepping down, Genovese does not see the appointment of Heins as leading to a potential acquisition. He has a neutral rating and a $15 price target on shares.

Heins did speak about becoming more consumer friendly during Monday's conference call, explaining that RIM's recruiting a new Chief Marketing Officer to help reach customers. The new CEO also discussed the possibility of licensing out Blackberry 10, the company's newest operating system, which is expected to launch later this year.

Shares reversed course in early Monday trading. They had been up as much as 4% in pre-market trading, but were off 6.53% to $15.89 by mid-morning.

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--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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