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Prominent UI designer leaves RIM

Yet another executive is vacating the sinking ship that is BlackBerry manufacturer RIM.

Hampus Jakobsson, the company’s director of strategic alliances, revealed in a Twitter post that he is leaving the RIM to try his hand at a new venture.

Jakobsonn co-founded The Astonishing Tribe, a well-regarded Swedish mobile user interface developer firm that was purchased by RIM two years ago. The group has played a leading role in designing the user interface upgrades that will come to the RIM’s smartphones and tablets when the BlackBerry 10 operating system is released early in 2013.

“I’m a startup-guy,” Jakobsson tweeted in a response to a query about his departure. “Even if I really liked the company and the people, I felt it was time to start another one.”

Though he has yet to announce specific details about his new start-up, a post on Jakobsson’s Tumblr seeking to recruit an information designer suggests he is working on a project whose functionality will include allowing users to interact with complex data.

RIM confirmed Jakobsson’s departure and insisted that BB10 is still on track for a launch in the first quarter of 2013.

“The BlackBerry 10 UI team, which includes many members of The Astonishing Tribe, as well as others around the world, remains on track to deliver BlackBerry 10 in the first quarter of 2013,” the company said in a statement.

Recent months have seen RIM lose a number of high-profile executives, including its chief technology officer, chief operations officer, and co-chief executive.

In June, the company quashed rumours it was shedding developers ahead of the BB10 launch, and CEO Thorsten Heins moved to reassure investors, and consumers, that RIM is not in the midst of a “death spiral” despite mounting troubles.

Meanwhile, a broad restructuring designed to save $1 billion (£643 million) by the end of its 2013 fiscal year means mass layoffs are on the horizon for RIM.