The New York Times reported the company's share of the smartphone market that RIM pioneered has fallen from almost half to 9 percent from 2009 to 2011.
The precipitous drop came as RIM was unable to fend off rival Apple and its remarkably successful iPhone, as well as a vast variety of phones that jumped on the Google Android system bandwagon.
While Apple was redefining the digital landscape with its iPhone and iPad, RIM came out with a tablet called the PlayBook that had fundamental flaws, like the failure to include an e-mail system. RIM's efforts to update its BlackBerry phone with a new operating system has run into delays and is not expected until the end of 2012.
Heins joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December 2007 and became chief operating officer for product and sales last August.
Lazaridis, a co-founder of the company will become vice chairman and director of the firm's innovation committee, a board function."There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership," he said Monday in a statement.
Balsillie will remain a company director.