Thorsten Heins

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Thorsten Heins
Born (1957-12-29) December 29, 1957 (age 58)
Gifhorn, West Germany
Residence Toronto
Nationality German, Canadian
Alma mater University of Hannover
Occupation CEO of Powermat Technologies, former CEO of BlackBerry Ltd

Thorsten Heins is a German businessman and the former chief executive officer of BlackBerry Ltd. He stepped down as CEO of BlackBerry and was replaced by John S. Chen on November 4, 2013.[1] Heins is now the CEO of Powermat Technologies.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Heins was born in Gifhorn, Germany. He has a German diploma in 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.[3]

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.[4]

In January 2012 he was named to succeed company co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as president and CEO. During his time as CEO, the company continued to struggle in a rapidly changing market. In 2012, Heins was named Cantech Letter’s 2012 TSX Executive of the Year[5] and ranked a year later as third on a list of the worst CEOs of 2013.[6] Heins was replaced by John Chen, a veteran Silicon Valley executive, during a November 2013 management shakeup and left the company with a $22 million severance.[7]

After completely and utterly failing to turn BlackBerry around, following his departure in 2013 Thorstein Heins went on to become the CEO of Powermat Technologies Ltd. Since October of 2015, he has been the target of a lawsuit by the board of directors at Powermat Ltd for apparently running the company without an approved budget and therefore risking pushing the company into a state of insolvency.[8]


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

External links[edit]