RIM has just lost another member of their senior staff. Mike Kirkup, Senior Direct of Developer Relations for the BlackBerry platform is calling it quits today, saying on his blog “this is a great company with leaders I respect and admire. It has been an honour to share in the success and growth of such an extraordinary company.” Kirkup joins a handful of other high-level exeunts, including the Product Manager for the PlayBook, their VP of Digital Marketing, their VP of handheld software development, their VP of Marketing and Alliances, and not to mention the hundred that are getting pink slips. In an interview, Kirkup iterated that the decision was not made because he had lost faith in RIM or BlackBerry, but that he only wanted to spend some time with his family, and figure out what he wants to do next.
Over the last couple of years of covering BlackBerry news, I’ve bumped into Mike a bunch of times, and he’s an enthusiastic, passionate, and humourous guy – exactly the kind of people RIM can’t afford to be losing when they’re on the verge of flipping the switch to QNX smartphones. The current app selection on the PlayBook isn’t exactly great, and for the next batch of BlackBerry handsets to be attractive to consumers, there will need to be ample developer interest. Although Mike claims the resignation is solely for personal reasons, it’s hard not to think about what’s going on behind closed doors in Waterloo; a lot of anonymous letters suggest there are some very good reasons to get out now.
What do you guys think – is it in RIM’s best interests to hold on to experienced staff like Kirkup, or are changes like these necessary for the company to get out of old habits and approach the future with a fresh set of eyes?