So Research In Motion Ltd.'s new chairwoman is looking for new blood on the board. What does she need to seek?
RIM's chairwoman, Barbara Stymiest, made the statements in an interview with Bloomberg (a link to the story and video is here). Who should she recruit? Here are three ideas.
The easy answer is no more accountants. The board of RIM already has four among its 11-member board, including Ms. Stymiest.
The place the company needs to look is to the retail world. RIM is increasingly fighting a battle for consumers, and it has a board that looks all big-business.
Apple Inc.'s board provides some ideas, especially as it comes to relating to consumers. The company's board boasts Mickey Drexler, who used to run Gap Inc. (back when it was a rising star) and now runs J. Crew. Brands do not come more consumer focused than that, in every way from how to build stores to how to build the experience. There's also the CEO of Disney.
Who could RIM get that has the same consumer touch? If Streetwise was hired to do the search, here are a few names we'd throw out.
How about Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon Athletica Inc. ? Lululemon has marketing savvy, a connection with consumers, and an unerring sense of trend. Few would agree RIM has any of those in any great degree at the moment. If Mr. Wilson isn't available, there's Lululemon's current CEO, Christine Day, who has a background at Starbucks.
Another idea: Someone from Harry Rosen, another of Canada's most successful retailers. The company has always had rock-solid advertising, and a deluxe customer experience. It sells suits to the same powerbrokers who are supposed to carry BlackBerries but increasingly seem interested in iPhones, as the Globe's Jeff Gray reports.
A third: Bonnie Brooks, who turned Bay stores from dowdy to dandy in her time running Hudson's Bay Co. She's probably the closest thing in Canada to Mr. Drexler.
Reaching outside Canada, and even North America, RIM has a solid presence in emerging markets, so what about a retailer from that part of the world?
RIM needs to start showing the market it's still a hive of creativity. Nominations to the board are a place to start.
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