Toronto: Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has unveiled plans to rejig its management structure that would see the separation of roles of chairman and CEO.
RIM’s move comes amid rising investor concerns about the company’s falling market share in the highly competitive smartphone segment. Currently, RIM’s chairman and CEO is the same person.
“... the proposal asked that RIM’s Board of Directors adopt a policy that divides the role of Chair and CEO, and that RIM have an independent Chair. The parties have agreed that RIM’s Board will establish a Committee of independent directors,” RIM said in a statement to Northwest & Ethical Investments LP (one of the major shareholder group) and to its shareholders.
Lazaridis and Balsillie are not only the co-CEOs of the company but also co-chairmen of the board of directors. They also have the largest individual shares of 10%. Thus, the two men control management as well as the board of directors. Both of them have been resisting the investors’ pressure so far.
The board of directors of the company have also agreed that RIM’s Board will establish a Committee of independent directors whose mandate will generally be to study the appropriate balance between an independent lead director or chair with full and exclusive authority customarily held by such an office.
Further, to determine the business necessity for RIM’s Co-CEOS to have significant Board level titles to assist their selling and other responsibilities with certain large customers in overseas markets, and propose and provide a rationale for a recommended governance structure for RIM, which will include clarifications of the Co-CEOs and chair roles, as well as the Board’s mandate.
The Committee will submit the report by 31 January, 2012 and the Board will publicly respond to the recommendations of the Committee within 30 days.