* Patrick Spence resigned this week to take Sonos job
* Sonos audio equipment wireless controls music playback
* Being passed over for COO job helped push Spence
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, May 24 Patrick Spence, who resigned
this week as global head of sales at struggling BlackBerry maker
Research In Motion Ltd, has been hired as chief
commercial officer at wireless home audio company Sonos Inc,
several sources with knowledge of his plans said.
Sonos is a privately held consumer electronics company based
in Santa Barbara, California, with offices in France, Germany,
the Netherlands, China and Malaysia.
Sonos was not immediately available to comment. RIM declined
to comment beyond a statement issued on Wednesday that said
Spence was taking on a leadership role in another industry.
Spence was considered a rising star at RIM whose promotion
to the global sales position last July recognised his major role
in building strong sales growth in Europe and emerging markets
such as the Middle East.
He was pivotal to the global launch of a range of BlackBerry
7 devices last year and worked to decentralize RIM's sales
planning so it fit better with regional needs.
But analysts suggest his close ties to former RIM co-Chief
Executive Jim Balsillie may have left him isolated after
Balsillie quit earlier this year over a major strategy
He was passed over for a vacant chief operating officer role
at RIM this month, which one source said also pushed him to look
for opportunities outside RIM.
RIM's Nasdaq-listed shares, already languishing at lows last
seen in late 2003, closed 3.4 percent lower on Thursday at
Sonos' audio system enables music to be played in different
rooms of a house by its own remote control, or a computer, or
smartphones and tablets from Apple Inc or running
Google Inc's Android software.
It can play tracks from a user's own digital music library
and is compatible with a range of streaming music services
including Last.fm, Sirius XM Radio Inc, Pandora Media
Inc, and Spotify.
As chief commercial officer, Spence will be a right-hand man
to the company's founder and chief executive, John MacFarlane.
The former head of Microsoft Corp's Xbox and phone
division, Robbie Bach, sits on the board of Sonos.