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Struggling RIM announces new executive hires

Associated Press Modified: May 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm •  Published: May 8, 2012

TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. said Tuesday that it has hired two new senior executives, including a marketing chief, as the company looks to regain market share lost to Apple's iPhone.

RIM said Frank Boulben will be the new chief marketing officer, a job RIM's new CEO Thorsten Heins described as critically important for the struggling company.

Boulben, 45, served as executive vice president of strategy and marketing at LightSquared, a wireless company that has been struggling since U.S. regulators moved to kill its proposed nationwide broadband network. Boulben also held senior positions at wireless carriers Vodafone Group and Orange.

Kristian Tear is the new chief operating officer. Tear, 48, was executive vice president of Sony Mobile Communications, a unit of another struggling technology company, Sony Corp.

Heins said both possess a keen understanding of the rapidly changing wireless market and will help sharpen RIM's focus.

The once iconic BlackBerry company is facing its most difficult period in its history. RIM is working on launching a new operating system just as Americans are abandoning their BlackBerrys for iPhones and models that run Google's Android software. Analysts believe RIM's futures depends on the new BlackBerry 10 operating platform due out later this year, although many say it may come too late.

RIM has been without a chief marketing officer since last year and without a chief operating officer since Heins was promoted in January. Heins replaced co-CEO's Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis after the company lost tens of billions in market value.

Heins has said that RIM has to improve its marketing. Boulben will be in charge of that.

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