TORONTO Research In Motion's chief marketing officer, Keith Pardy, is leaving the BlackBerry maker, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday, citing a company statement.
The surprise resignation comes just weeks before the expected launch of RIM's PlayBook tablet computer, which will enter a crowded market dominated by Apple's iPad.
"Hopefully, when you're weeks away from product release, you've laid most of the groundwork for the marketing efforts," said Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at market research firm IHS iSupply. "Others can execute the groundwork that's been laid out."
Shares in the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, which did not immediately respond to calls seeking confirmation, were 2.9 percent lower at $66.47 on Nasdaq and off 3.1 percent at C$64.53 in Toronto.
Pardy, who joined RIM in December 2009, was responsible for the overall health of the BlackBerry brand. He previously worked for 17 years in marketing at Coca-Cola before joining Nokia in 2004.
RIM has struggled to capture the consumer imagination with recent products in the same way Apple has and is also facing a deluge of devices running on Google's Android platform.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Liana Baker; editing by Rob Wilson)