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RIM's Australian chief leaves BlackBerry maker

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The head of Research In Motion's Australian and New Zealand operations has stepped down just months after being promoted to the job, becoming the latest senior executive to depart since Thorsten Heins took over as the BlackBerry maker's CEO.

Ray Gillenwater left RIM to pursue other interests, RIM said in a statement yesterday. Matthew Ball, who joined the company a year ago to manage its Australian marketing efforts, has replaced him.

During Ball's tenure as marketing chief, RIM admitted it was behind a publicity stunt in April in which black-clad protesters chanted "wake up" outside an Apple retail store in Sydney.

RIM is quietly cleaning out layers of management under Heins, who himself replaced longtime co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in January.

RIM's stock has fallen more than 70 per cent in the past year as customers abandon the BlackBerry in favour of Apple's iPhone and a slew of devices using Google's Android software.

Gillenwater was promoted to managing director of RIM in Australia in April after long-serving country head Adele Beachley left in February.


He had previously worked in less senior roles at RIM in the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia, according to his LinkedIn profile.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, is cutting 5000 jobs, or almost a third of its workforce, as it seeks to save $US1 billion this year.

A steady stream of senior staff has left RIM in recent months, including its chief legal officer, head of global sales, a chief operating officer and the head of software.

Mid-level executives responsible for the BlackBerry platform and the BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging service have also left. The head of RIM's India unit left in November.


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