Thorsten Heins

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Thorsten Heins
Thorsten Heins in 2012 2013-10-27 21-02.jpg
Born (1957-12-29) December 29, 1957 (age 56)
Gifhorn, West Germany
Residence Toronto
Nationality German
Alma mater University of Hannover
Occupation Former President and CEO of BlackBerry Ltd

Thorsten Heins (born December 29, 1957) is a German businessman and the former chief executive officer of BlackBerry Ltd. He stepped down from BlackBerry on November 4, 2013.

Early life and education[edit]

Thorsten was born in Gifhorn, Germany. He has a German diploma in science and physics from the University of Hannover.

Business career[edit]

Prior to his position as CEO and President of BlackBerry, Heins held several positions in the wireless technology industry including the chief technology officer of Siemens' Communications Division and several general management positions in hardware and software businesses.[1]

Heins joined RIM (Currently BlackBerry) in 2007. He rose through the ranks starting as senior vice president of BlackBerry Handheld Business Unit; chief operating officer of product engineering; and finally chief operating officer of product and sales since July 2011 before becoming CEO and President.[2]

In January 2012 he was named to succeed BlackBerry company founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as president and CEO of BlackBerry. On November 4, 2013, BlackBerry announced that he stepped down as CEO and John S. Chen would replace him.

During his time as CEO, BlackBerry continued to struggle, and in November 2013, Heins was subsequently sacked but given a $22 million severance payment. Many critics have doubted the validity of receiving such a large settlement on the grounds that Heins failed in his primary objective of saving the company. He was replaced by John Chen, a veteran Silicon Valley executive.[3]

Heins came in third on a list of the worst CEOs of 2013.[4]

Below are a few of his quotes which proved his "vision" during his term at Blackberry:

- "There is nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now.”[5]

- "In five years, I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing ...”[6]

- “One of the issues we really need to tackle in the future is not the innovation – that will be always covered”[7]

- “In five years, I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore.”[8]

- “I get more and more excited every day. I really have to make sure I stay grounded and I don’t lose my sense for reality”[9]


Business positions
Preceded by
Jim Balsillie/Mike Lazaridis (co-chairs)
BlackBerry CEO
Succeeded by
John S. Chen