RIM to oust Lazaridis and Balsillie as chairmen of the board?

Getting the spring cleaning done early

RIM to oust Lazaridis and Balsillie as chairmen of the board

RIM could be starting the year with a shake up, as sources suggest that Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie will soon be relieved of their position as joint chairmen of the company's board.

A committee of independent directors have been checking out the BlackBerry-maker's board and deciding what is and isn't working, with the "business necessity" of Lazaridis and Balsillie holding the top post being called into question.

According to the Financial Post's sources, we may well see one chairwoman in place of the two chairmen: Barbara Stymiest, a director who joined the RIM board in 2007, is tipped to take over the role.

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Difficult to spell names all round

The findings of the report are set to be presented to the RIM board by 31 January, with their recommendations acted on or rejected within 30 days after that.

It won't be the end of the Lazaridis-Balsillie double act if they do stand down from chairmanship though – the two co-founders seem set to continue on as RIM's joint CEOs and still own 12 per cent of the company's stock between them.

Not that the stock they own is worth as much now as it was this time last year given that RIM's disastrous 2011 has left its share price down by over 68 per cent.

The company responded to our request for comment, telling us nothing we didn't already know: "As previously disclosed, RIM's Board has established a Committee of independent directors with the mandate to study the Company's governance structure and report their findings by January 31, 2012.

"The Committee is on track to meet this schedule and the Board will then publicly respond to the recommendations of the Committee within 30 days."

Meanwhile, we're more interested in RIM's BlackBerry handsets than its board members' movements. 2012 should see the launch of the company's first BlackBerry 10 handsets and a BlackBerry PlayBook software update in the near future.

Don't expect to hear much from the company at CES 2012 or MWC 2012 though; neither show is in line with RIM's product cycle. BlackBerry World in May is a much better bet.

From Financial Post via BGR