RIM's Balsillie and Lazaridis get $12 million for quitting co-CEO post

RIM's Balsillie and Lazaridis get $12 million for quitting co-CEO post
Former RIM co-CEO's Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were the subject of a document filed by RIM on Thursday. The document details how the pair will be receiving $12 million as they leave the co-CEO post for the company that they took to the top of the industry a few short years ago. With a stock price that rose to around $140,  RIM's BlackBerry handsets could be found in the pockets of pinstriped businessmen throughout North America who were addicted to the push email notification system found on the handsets.

But Balsillie and Lazaridis made major miscalculations when it came it the Apple iPhone. Neither man felt that a touchscreen phone was more than just a fad or a toy and had to scramble when the iPhone proved to have staying power. The beginning of the end for the pair might have been the launch of the BlackBerry Storm 9530 in November 2008. The first touchscreen BlackBerry was incessantly marketed by RIM and with an exclusivity period for the phone at Verizon, Apple iPhone-starved customers of Big Red  made the phone a hot seller. The problem was that the software was extremely buggy and the SurePress technology, which was supposed to make typing on the device feel like you were typing on a physical QWERTY keyboard, never lived up to the promise.

The future of RIM is now tied up in the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. We have seen a few different names bandied about as the first BlackBerry OS 10 phone with the latest name being the BlackBerry Colt 2. Last month, RIM released some videos showing some of the functionality of the new OS, and handed out a large number of BlackBerry Alpha Developer Phones loaded with BlackBerry 10 OS. The idea is to get developers to start writing apps for the new operating system well before the first handset is released.

With the stock in free fall, both Balsillie and Lazaridis resigned as co-CEO in January, replaced by Thorsten Heins. Jim Balsillie, who now has absolutely nothing to do with the company, is receiving $7.9 million. Mike Lazaridis remains co-Chairman of the Board with some responsibilities for innovation; he has his own office, a company car, a driver and his take will be $3.9 million. As a comparison, new CEO Heins is set to receive $10.2 million for 2012. RIM's filing also says that Spanish telecom executive Antonio Viana-Baptista is pulling an LBJ (no, not LeBron James) and is not standing for reelection as a director. He is being replaced as a candidate for the board by former Goldman Sachs managing director Timothy Dattels, who has experience investing in Asian markets.

Also noted in the filing is that Karima Bawa, who recently resigned as RIM's Chief Legal Officer will receive a lump sum payout consisting of two years pay for “reasonable ongoing cooperation” with the company as it searches for her replacement. Considering that she made $2,614,800 for fiscal 2012, Ms. Bawa will receive approximately $5.2 million for doing nothing more than helping RIM find someone to fill her seat. Is it us or is RIM throwing a lot of money at people who are leaving the company?

To show how poorly the stock has done, the filing says that a $100 investment in RIM on the Toronto Stock Exchange on March 3rd 2007 was worth $25.49 exactly five years later.

source: TheGlobeandMail via Crackberry



1. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

I just love to see in this horrible economy that when CEOs are booted out of the company for doing a horrible job, they always manage to leave with enough money never to have to work another day again.

2. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

just to counter point. It is THEIR company. They started it. They are stepping down from THEIR creation. RIM makes billions a year even in its horrible times, and they are responsible for thousands of jobs (and soon to come lay offs from bad decisions). Besides that, they have contracts that need to be fulfilled. If they are'nt, they get to sue RIM for contract + damages + lawyer fees. So its cheaper to just give them the rest of their contracted pay out and leave. These guys should have stepped down long ago. That is for sure. Funny enough though is that if they stepped down when RIM was starting its downward spiral instead of waiting till it bottomed out, they probably would have went home with a lot more money from stock options.

4. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 2012

I think what he was trying to say is that these guys are likely already filthy rich, so these guys would be more respected to decline it in the interest of where the company is now. That money could save some jobs. It would be the right thing to do.

6. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

right, because if someone OWED you 12 million bux, you would just say "nah, keep it.. i care what strangers in another country might think of me for 30 seconds" lol. be real.

8. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

You got my point beautifully. Whatever happened to the CEOs who would say: "You know, I already have more money than I or even my grand-kids could ever hope to spend. Let me use all this extra money to to make sure the workers who dedicated themselves to my vision aren't thrown out in the street for doing so." But I guess that in the age of ultra narcissism that's too much to hope for.

9. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

can you name 1 ceo that did that? lol. dude, those people dont live outside of books. again, these are contract fill outs. its not like they saw 12 million on a table and ran with it. they are legally OWED that money and RIM is bound by the contract to give it to them. its not good, its not evil.. its just life. no one in their right mind is going to be owed 12 million bux and turn it down.. not unless they were worth billions. in reality you worry about you and your family first, and 12 million bux goes a long way to helping your family and friends. RIM still makes billions a year in corperate email that is a very high profit margin for them. They are still a "healthy" company. healthy and shrinking are not always at odds with each other. Their new phone sales may suck, but for now, the bulk of their business... which is the way its always been.. is still fine. They've always made more on the BES side than the hardware side.

10. Rager099

Posts: 29; Member since: Apr 06, 2009

Dan Hesse(a Big Guy) took a pay cut for sprint...

11. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

I'm with you jmoita2. I can't imagine any CEO turning down any kind of severance package like that. But I would like to see it put to a vote by the workers who will soon be losing their jobs to pay for these two icebergs that sunk their ship. Why should they pay for the failures of the co-CEOs? Who amount us can say they screwed up royaly at work and got paid this handsomely just to quit? I say if you're company is negatively impacted by you own bad management you should get some severance pay, but it's insane that they are being rewarded for failure.

14. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

again, contracts are binding. if you dont like it, get into corporate law and get everyone to sign better contracts. I'm all for it. I think there should be performance clauses tied to every last one of them.. But as it is, deal with reality. Reality is, that its money owed in contracts and not really a debate. i expect every one of you to turn down 12 million dollars when offered and give it all away to other people. Dan Hesse took a publicized pay cut. That doesnt mean he isnt making it up in other places. He is also responcible for putting a giant noose around Sprint's neck with the Apple deal that could possibly sink the company.

16. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 2012

Big difference bro. They ALREADY are millionaires, at the least. Rest of us posting here aren't close to that. I know I'm not. No one is debating what is owed to them via contracts. What is simply being said is they shouldn't get paid millions of dollars for running the company down. We have had this discussion before, so this is all I'm going to say here. We both know where each other stand on this.

17. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Geesh remix...can't a guy fantasize about fairness in the world of business for a sec? We live in reality, we know that the little guy takes it up the rear on a daily. But haven't you ever dreamt of justice at the job? Seen something that doesn't seem fair and wished there was a way to change it? That's all we're saying.

18. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 2012

So true man.... I am well aware life isn't fair, that is not in dispute. Just would be nice to see some things happen that might have a slight chance of renewing my faith in humanity, miniscule as it is lol!

3. mrvid

Posts: 77; Member since: Oct 02, 2008

No wonder these companies are going broke!! They lag behind the times and then say " Hey we better do something" Just like Nokia, made crap phones but people liked them and sold a ton of them. Same with BB, good phones, great email for business! But now there's more than just emailing business and they didn't change with the times!!

5. Republican

Posts: 99; Member since: Apr 05, 2012

Screw the workers. Remixfa is right. It's their money, and they need to take it. Workers are cheap enough, plenty in the thrid world. I say fire them all.

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

dont bring me into your baloney.

12. Republican

Posts: 99; Member since: Apr 05, 2012

remixfa... I am your father.

15. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

well.. that explains alot. can i cut off your other hand now? :)

13. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Bye bye BB. Hello Android.

19. Ravail

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 14, 2011

Blackberry has great phones, but they do not offer enough to justify a $199 price tag on any of their phones, perhaps a $50 price tag for their flagship device.. anyways.. GO ANDROID!!!

20. fletaparker

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

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