01/23/2012 08:47 EST | Updated 03/24/2012 05:12 EDT

BIOGRAPHY | New RIM CEO Thorsten Heins

Thorsten Heins, 54, the youthful-looking new chief executive of Research In Motion, brings a long history of technical and organizational accomplishment to the job. Here's a rundown on RIM's new CEO:

- Date of birth: Dec. 29, 1957, in Gifhorn, Germany.

- Education: Master’s degree in science and physics from the University of Hanover.

- Previous experience: After graduation, Heins joined the German technical giant and phone-maker Siemens AG, rising through the ranks of customer service, sales and product-management positions. After serving as head of several business divisions in the communication business, he became chief technology officer.

- RIM experience: Joined the company in December 2007, becoming senior vice-president for the handheld business unit. In 2011, as part of a management shakeup, he became one of two chief operating officers, specializing in product engineering. The company announced Jan. 22 that he would be the new chief executive, replacing both Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

- Personal life: Heins is married with a daughter and a son. His interests include bicycling, motorcycling, skiing and hiking.

- Quote: Asked by the Globe and Mail if he expected to become CEO, he said: "I hoped I would be."

- Compensation: Total about $1.92 million US in 2011.