* Digital marketing chief leaves at critical time
* RIM to lay off staff as profit picture clouds
TORONTO, June 20 (Reuters) - Brian Wallace, who headed digital marketing efforts at Research In Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O, has left the BlackBerry maker for a job at Samsung (005930.KS), a smartphone competitor that uses Google’s (GOOG.O) Android software.
The departure was first reported by trade publication Advertising Age, which said Wallace will become Samsung’s vice-president of strategic marketing for the United States, working from Dallas. Reuters confirmed the exit with a source at RIM, while Wallace also acknowledged the move on his Twitter page.
The change comes at a pivotal time for Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM as it works to push out new smartphones with the QNX operating system that it uses in its PlayBook tablet.
The exit comes days after news of a medical leave for Chief Operating Officer Don Morrison. It also follows the departure of Keith Pardy, RIM’s head of marketing, in March, just weeks before RIM launched the PlayBook, its answer to Apple’s (AAPL.O) (AAPL.O) hugely successful iPad.
RIM said last Thursday it would reduce staff numbers after posting a disappointing profit and warning its earnings would fall further due to delays launching new devices. [ID:nL3E7HH1AW]
Its shares have lost half their value this year and were down 5.8 percent at $26.14 on Nasdaq on Monday afternoon, a fresh five-year low. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Peter Galloway)