If you thought it was bad when Blackberry had two CEOs, you would not be surprised to find out how much worse it got when they had three.
When Thorstein Heins was made CEO and Balsillie and Lazaridis still sat on the board, the company effectively had three different CEOs with three different visions.
Balsillie was enamoured with the potential of BBM being licensed more widely but Lazaridis and Heins ganged up on Balsillie and killed his BBM initiative. This caused Balsillie to resign from the board and sell all his stock. (Good move by the way.)
Meanwhile Heins and Lazaridis were battling over the keyboard-less Z10 versus the Q10, a QNX based Blackberry with keyboard. Lazaridis had long thought that trying to compete directly with the iPhone was sheer folly given Apple’s 6 year advantage in the market.
Heins won that battle, much to the company’s detriment as history has proven the product to be too late and too complex.
So there you had it. Three CEOs each with a different vision. As it happens, both Lazaridis and Balsillie were right and had there been only one CEO, Blackberry might still have a future. But as it was, the third CEO won and the company is now fighting an uphill battle.
Thing is, there can only be one vision.