RIM's top lawyer joins parade of resignations

Mon May 28, 2012 3:57pm EDT
 

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - The top lawyer at Research In Motion Ltd has resigned and will soon leave the struggling BlackBerry maker, RIM said on Monday, joining a parade of long-time company executives to depart since Thorsten Heins took over as CEO earlier this year.

The loss of Chief Legal Officer Karima Bawa - who litigated numerous patent disputes and helped write many of RIM's commercial deals - follows the resignation of RIM's head of global sales, Patrick Spence, last week.

"Thorsten Heins is reframing the RIM organization. Not everyone will fit into the new picture," said IDC analyst Kevin Restivo. "Departures, forced or otherwise, are inevitable anytime management sets a new course for an organization."

The resignations come ahead of what are expected to be massive layoffs this year as the company prepares to launch BlackBerry smartphones run by an operating system completely different from that used in its legacy phones.

RIM's shares have fallen some 75 percent in the last year while its market share has shriveled against competition from iPhone maker Apple Inc and a slew of manufacturers using Google Inc's Android operating system.

RIM's Toronto-listed rose 0.9 percent to C$11.34 late Monday afternoon. The company's Nasdaq-listed shares were not trading due to a U.S. holiday.

Bawa, who joined RIM in 2000, was promoted to general counsel and chief legal officer in late 2010.

She plans to stay with the company while a replacement is hired and during a transition, RIM said in an emailed statement after Reuters asked about Bawa's status.   Continued...

 
One of the women uses a mobile phone as they walk at the Blackberry maker's Research in Motion RIM campus in Waterloo April 18, 2012. Picture taken April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch