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Thorsten Heins

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Thorsten Heins

Thorsten Heins
Born (1957-12-29) December 29, 1957
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 was sacked from BlackBerry on November 4, 2013.

Early life and education

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

Business career

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]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Thorsten Gerhard Heins. "Thorsten Heins: Executive Profile & Biography - BusinessWeek". Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  3. ^ Posted: Nov 4, 2012 12:32 PM EST (2013-011-04). "BlackBerry fires CEO Thorsten Heins as $4.7bn Fairfax rescue bid collapses". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-011-04. 
  4. ^ "The worst CEOs of 2013". BBC. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
Business positions
Preceded by
Jim Balsillie/Mike Lazaridis (co-chairs)
BlackBerry CEO
Succeeded by
John S. Chen
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