August 21, 2012 / 2:12 PM / 5 years ago

RIM appoints new managing director for UK, Ireland

Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone handsets are pictured in this illustration picture taken in Lavigny, July 21, 2012.Valentin Flauraud/Files

REUTERS - Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO has selected a new managing director for its United Kingdom and Ireland business, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, in the latest in a series of management changes under new CEO Thorsten Heins.

Rob Orr, a vice president with the company's Europe, Middle East and Africa region, will take over as of September 1, replacing Stephen Bates. Bates will become regional managing director for Europe, a new position.

The move is the latest in a string of changes at the BlackBerry maker since Thorsten Heins replaced longtime co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in January.

A steady stream of senior staff have left the Waterloo, Ontario-based company in recent months, including its chief legal officer, head of global sales, a chief operating officer and its head of software.

In July, the head of the company's Australian and New Zealand operations stepped down just months after being promoted to the job.

RIM's devices have lost ground to Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone and a range of smartphones that run on Google Inc's (GOOG.O) Android software, and shares are down more than 50 percent this year to date.

The company plans to launch its next-generation line of smartphones running a new BlackBerry 10 operating system early next year.

Reporting by Allison Martell

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