RIM investor seeks to split CEO, chairman roles

TORONTO Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:45pm EDT

A person poses while using a Blackberry Bold 2 smartphone made by Research in Motion (RIM), July 13, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

A person poses while using a Blackberry Bold 2 smartphone made by Research in Motion (RIM), July 13, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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TORONTO (Reuters) - An investor in Research In Motion has pushed for a shareholder vote on whether Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie should retain shared roles as chairmen of the board and chief executives at the BlackBerry maker.

A proposal put forward by Northwest & Ethical Investments, calls on RIM to divide the roles and amend its bylaws to ensure the chair is an independent board member, RIM said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Balsillie stepped down from the board in February 2009 following a stock options accounting scandal but was returned, along with Lazaridis, as co-chairmen in December 2010.

Northern and Ethical Investments said the move "contradicts the company's own statement, widely acknowledged best practice, and regulatory expectations."

The Canadian company will hold its annual general meeting in Waterloo, Ontario, on July 12.

RIM called on shareholders to vote against the resolution, saying independent board member John Richardson already acts as the de facto leader of the board.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Peter Galloway)

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