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| | Balsillie out as chairman of BlackBerry maker RIM
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Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie is resigning as chairman after the company, which makes the popular BlackBerry handheld device, reported over US$250 million in stock option accounting errors.
Jim Balsillie, Chairman and Co-CEO of Research in Motion Ltd., speaks at the C3 Expo Wednesday, June 28, 2006 in New York. (CP / Mark Lennihan)
"Consistent with current best practices in corporate governance, the roles of chairman and CEO are being separated,'' the firm said.
"Mr. Balsillie has voluntarily stepped down from the role of chairman to allow future consideration of a non-executive chairman by the nominating committee.''
The company, based in Waterloo, Ont., said Monday that that Balsillie will stay on as director and as co-chief executive with Michael Laziridis.
The errors, which were revealed after an extensive review, mean RIM will have to restate its annual financial statements for 2004, 2005, 2006 and for the first quarter of 2007.
Balsillie and Laziridis have both offered to pay RIM up to $5 million each to help offset costs incurred by the review and the restatement.
"RIM has agreed to accept this voluntary payment," said the firm.
No deliberate wrongdoing was found in the review but the company will have to reduce the amount of previously reported earnings prior to the end of 2006 by about US$250 million.
The company will also reorganize its board of directors and replace the chief financial officer.
Further, top RIM managers will remain subject to a cease-trade order while financial reports are re-examined by Canadian and U.S. regulators. The company is also facing shareholder lawsuits over the company's financial reports.
RIM said it doesn't expect any further material adjustments to the current or future financial years' operating results.
With files from The Canadian Press