RIM shares drop after minor board shuffle

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:14pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares of Research In Motion RIM.TO fell more than 4 percent on Thursday morning after the struggling Blackberry maker named a financier to replace a telecom executive on its board, disappointing investors looking for more sweeping changes.

The company, whose share prices has tumbled alongside its once-dominant share of the smartphone market, also said it had paid its new CEO more than $10 million last fiscal year and gave him hundreds of thousands of stock options to take the top job in January.

It also revealed millions of dollars in payments to former co-CEO Jim Balsillie when he parted ways with RIM.

"There may be some tough questions asked or some shareholder backlash if the change at the top is just this," said Sameet Kanade, an analyst at Northern Securities, referring the announcements, made in a filing ahead of RIM's annual meeting next month.

Kanade said the filing suggested the company was making little progress toward the broad changes investors are seeking.

RIM has lost favor as the email-centric BlackBerry falls behind in a fast-changing smartphone market now dominated by Apple Inc's (AAPL.O: Quote) iPhone and devices using Google Inc's (GOOG.O: Quote) Android software.

Still, the nomination of financier Timothy Dattels to the board could indicate RIM is more seriously considering going private, or a leveraged buyout for the company.

Dattels, a senior partner at private equity firm TPG Capital LP, previously served as Goldman Sachs' head of investment banking for Asia excluding Japan.   Continued...

A logo of the Blackberry maker's Research in Motion is seen on a building at the RIM Technology Park in Waterloo April 18, 2012. Picture taken April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch