Research in Motion announced that Thorsten Heins has been named president and chief executive officer, taking over from co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. Heins also was appointed to RIM’s board.

The board strongly implied that the decision was not in response to the pressure it has been under to change the top leadership, saying, “The board acted after conducting its own due diligence” and following the recommendation of the co-CEOs.

Lazaridis has now become vice chair of RIM’s board and chair of the board’s new Innovation Committee. “I am so confident in RIM’s future that I intend to purchase an additional $50 million of the company’s shares, as permitted, in the open market,” he said.

Balsillie remains a member of the board.

Heins joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December 2007 as senior vice president for Hardware Engineering and became chief operating officer for Product and Sales in August 2011.

Heins said that RIM has a strong foundation on which to build, including approximately $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and negligible debt. He added that RIM reported revenue of $5.2 billion last quarter, up 24 percent from the prior quarter, and a 35 percent year-to-year increase in the BlackBerry subscriber base, which is now over 75 million.

Related links:

Financial Times – BlackBerry maker shakes up board

Toronto Star – RIM’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie resign

Reuters – BlackBerry maker’s CEOs hand reins to insider

Globe and Mail – Heins eager to prove he’s up to the task at RIM

New York Times – Bowing to Critics and Market Forces, RIM’s Co-Chiefs Step Aside

Wall Street Journal – RIM CEOs Give Up Top Posts in Shuffle