RIM pays out millions to current and former CEOs

Struggling BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) disclosed a number of executive payments in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, showing former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie will take home roughly $3.9 million and $7.9 million, respectively, while the company's current CEO is being paid close to $10 million.

Mike Lazaridis, co-founder and co-CEO, and Jim Balsillie

Balsillie, left, and Lazaridis

The figures act as a counter to RIM's falling share price and market share position in smartphones. During the past 12 months, RIM's stock has fallen from a high of $33.54 per share to around $10 today. And the company's U.S. market share has fallen from around 27 percent in March of 2011 to 11.6 percent in April 2012, according to comScore.

RIM in January replaced its longtime CEOs Lazaridis and Balsillie with Thorsten Heins, a former Siemens executive who was most recently RIM's COO.

In its SEC filing, RIM said it paid Lazaridis and Balsillie because the two former executives "revolutionized the worldwide wireless industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry and forever changed how the world communicates." The two executives stepped down from their positions in January and left the company shortly thereafter.

Lazaridis and Balsillie aren't the only RIM executives who have left the company. RIM has lost a number of key executives in recent months.

In order to reverse the company's downward slide, Heins has embarked on a cost-cutting effort as well as a strategic review that could include corporate partnerships or BlackBerry software licensing agreements. RIM is counting on its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system, scheduled for release later this year, to refresh its position in the smartphone market.

For more:
- see this SEC filing
- see this New York Times article
- see this Reuters article

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