John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

RIM Superstructure Needs Major Overhaul, Says Proxy Firm

Research In Motion’s upcoming shareholder meeting is shaping up to be quite the spectacle.

With the company’s shares deep in the mud and investor confidence waning, Glass Lewis today added its voice to calls to split up the company’s chairman and CEO roles. The proxy advisory service on Friday formally recommended shareholders vote in favor of a motion that would separate those roles which are currently held jointly by Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

“We are concerned that the current co-chair/co-CEO structure provides inadequate independent checks on executives and management, particularly since the co-CEOs founded the company and are its largest shareholders,” Glass Lewis said in a report on the matter, adding that an independent chairman would be better able to oversee company executives.

RIM vehemently opposes the motion, which was originally proposed by Northwest & Ethical Investments, but it will be put to a vote at RIM’s annual shareholder meeting on July 12.

And that should be interesting given the level of investor frustration with the company. Last week Stephen Jarislowsky, whose firm was RIM’s sixth largest investor until it sold more than half its stake, also called for a division between the chairman and CEO jobs.

“You should not have these two people at both positions because they have worked together all their lives and they are basically the same person, from point of view of policy,” he told Bloomberg in an interview.

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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