RIM CMO Pardy departs as BlackBerry PlayBook launch looms

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is bidding farewell to its CMO, Keith Pardy, ahead of the launch of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet as well as an expected transition to QNX software for its smartphones.

Keith Pardy  Chief Marketing Officer, Research In MotionRIM did not name an immediate successor to Pardy, and said he will stay on for the next six months to help with the transition. Pardy was hired in early 2009 from Nokia (NYSE:NOK), and also had previous marketing experience at Coca-Cola. RIM has tried to maintain its dominance in the enterprise smartphone market while at the same time appealing to a wider consumer audience to compete with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. 

The PlayBook represents a major new direction in RIM's strategy. The tablet, which RIM is expected to release initially as a Wi-Fi-only product sometime this month or in April, runs QNX software. RIM has said it plans to switch its BlackBerry smartphones to the new operating system once it releases dual-core handsets.

Pardy's departure is not expected to impact how RIM markets the PlayBook though, analysts said. "Hopefully, when you're weeks away from product release, you've laid most of the groundwork for the marketing efforts," Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at market research firm IHS iSuppli, told Reuters. "Others can execute the groundwork that's been laid out."

Still, RIM does face significant challenges in the marketplace as it tries to balance serving multiple market segments. Android leapfrogged BlackBerry and iOS to capture the most U.S. smartphone market share, with 29 percent of the market, according to new data released last week by The Nielsen Company. However, both RIM and Apple only trailed Android slightly, with 27 percent each.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Barron's blog post

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