Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

RIM Shareholder Seeks Change to Top of Corporate Org Chart

A Research In Motion shareholder wants the company to split the responsibilities of the CEO and chairman — well, split them differently than they are already divided.

RIM already has the unusual structure of having co-chairmen and co-chief executive officers, but both those positions are held by the same two people: Mike Lazaridis (pictured here) and Jim Balsillie.

A shareholder proposal, to be considered at the company’s shareholder meeting next month, calls on the company to split the roles so that the chairman and CEO are not the same (even if there are two of them) with the chairman position to be filled by an independent director — unless none is available or willing. RIM, for its part, is urging shareholders to vote against the proposal. The company notes that good corporate governance is ensured by the position of a lead independent director in the current structure.

The shareholder move was disclosed on Friday as part of a regulatory filing by RIM ahead of the July 12 shareholder meeting. The proposal comes as investors are growing less patient with the company following an April warning that sales and earnings would fall below prior estimates amid tough competition, particularly in North America.

The company did say it still expects to have full-year earnings of $7.50 a share, though analysts are starting to doubt that prediction as well.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik