Amid accounting probe, RIM chairman resigns

BlackBerry creator Research In Motion's co-chief executive will give up the chairman's post after an internal probe identified a quarter-billion dollars in improper accounting for employee stock options at the mobile device company, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Jim Balsillie, who will remain on RIM's board, and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis also will pay up to $4.25 million apiece to defray the cost of the internal investigation, and return an as-yet undisclosed amount of personal profit from backdated options, the report said.

As a result of the improper accounting, the company expects to restate three years of past financial statements to record roughly $250 million of options-related expense that should have been deducted from the Ontario-based company's profits, the report said.

Owing to the expanded scope of the revisions, RIM said it would need more time to complete the restatement, which it had hoped to finish this month, according to the report.

The report also said RIM announced a change in chief financial officer in its detailed update, one of the highest-profile admissions of ethically suspect practices among the more than 100 companies implicated in Wall Street's options-backdating scandal.

But the announcement also demonstrated, similar to Apple's recent acknowledgment of backdated options, how the scandal's consequences tend to be less severe for companies and senior executives when business is good, the report further said.