Skip to main content

RIM Co-Founders May Get Axed, Board Could Appoint New Chair

RIM co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, might need to order some new business cards soon. According to Canada's Financial Post, a group of shareholders is getting set to announce a new corporate structure for the BlackBerry maker, one that would see Lazaridis and Balsillie step down from their positions as co-chairmen of RIM's board of directors.

If the men are asked to step aside, the position would be consolidated and taken over by board member Barbara Stymiest. An independent director, Stymiest was assigned to the board to evaluate it's overall structure, including whether the company should have an independent chair rather than a leader director, and if it was necessary for Lazaridis and Balisillie to hold any significant board title, the Financial Post reports.

At 55, Stymiest is the former head of the Toronto Stock Exchange and previously served as the CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada. If appointed to the post, she would be the company's first independent chair. This isn't the first time, Lazaridis and Balisillie have faced calls for their resignation from their shared position, although it certainly seems to be the most serious.

RIM's seemingly endless downward spiral has been punctuated with a series of severe setbacks including the abject failure of the BlackBerry PlayBook, which the company cancelled less than a year after its release. The company has also had to contend with a major service outage, which has drawn a class action lawsuit. Add to that the precipitous fall in RIM's stock price, and it's no wonder shareholders are up-in-arms over the company's leadership.

A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.