RIM agrees to study board changes; avoids vote

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2011 5:49 PM
RIM agrees to study board changes; avoids vote

TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion gave in to rising shareholder pressure on Thursday and agreed to study splitting the role of co-chair and co-chief executive, avoiding an embarrassing showdown at its annual meeting next month.

The two roles of CEO and Chairman are currently shared by co-founder Mike Lazaridis and by Jim Balsillie.

RIM said in a statement it would establish a committee of independent directors to study the executive and board roles, and make recommendations for a corporate structure.

In response, activist shareholder Northwest and Ethical Investments, which holds more than half a million RIM shares, will withdraw a proposal for a vote on the issue at RIM's July 12 annual meeting.

The BlackBerry maker is struggling to present itself as a legitimate third option in a smartphone race increasingly dominated by tech giants Apple and Google.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Janet Guttsman)