Global sales boss flees broken RIM

The defective mobile phone maker RIM has just suffered a major defection.

The head of global sales has cleaned out his desk and rush off to take on a leadership role in another industry, where he does not have to see another smartphone ever again.

Patrick Spence was a 14-year RIM veteran widely considered a rising star in the company in the sunset of its life. He is now legging it a few months before the “make or break” launch of RIM’s latest range.

A spokesperson for RIM told Reuters Spence’s last day with the company will be 15 June.

But it seems that Spence was miffed after he was promoted to the global sales role in July but was passed over for the chief operating officer role recently filled by Kristian Tear.

Tear spent most of his career working for Sony which is a major success story, Ericsson and the Sony Ericsson mobile phone joint venture.

Spence was based in London and had been doing stirling work launching a range of BlackBerry 7 devices which fewer people wanted. He also worked to decentralise RIM’s sales planning so it fit better with local conditions rather than the dictators of Canada.

RIM spokesperson Tenille Kennedy said the sales function will report directly to Chief Executive Thorsten “beans make” Heins on an interim basis. Ironically Spence’s unit will come up under the glorious empire of Tear when he starts work in the coming months.

RIM did not name a replacement for Spence or say where he was going.  We like the idea of him trying to sell coal in Newcastle. 

He is the latest in a number of high profile exits at RIM. The head of RIM’s India unit left in November, its head of government relations left months before that, and former chief marketing officer Keith Pardy departed more than a year ago.

RIM said this month it had replaced Pardy with wireless veteran Frank Boulben.