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RIM releases largely moot corporate-governance report

Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins, who took over as RIM’s president and CEO Jan. 22, has promised to bolster the BlackBerry franchise in the U.S., a key market where the brand has faded over time.

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters/Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Research In Motion Ltd. released a much anticipated report on corporate governance late Monday that recommended separating the co-CEO and co-chairmen role at the company in a move largely pre-empted by radical management changes that have taken place since the report was commissioned.

The report, which came about as a compromise between RIM's board of directors and activist shareholders, was to examine the governance structure at the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone giant, where the co-CEOs were also co-chairmen of the board.

Last Sunday, RIM's two longtime co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down in a management shake up that elevated the then-chief operating officer Thorsten Heins to the position of president and chief executive officer.

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Before that move, the company had been under enormous pressure from shareholders about a management structure many critics thought centralized too much power in the hands of the company's two leaders, even as many thought the maker of the BlackBerry had failed to respond to the challenges posed by Apple Inc.'s iPhone and devices running Google Inc.'s Android software.

The report is basically moot since it comes after the two men gave up their chair positions, with Mr. Laziridis becoming vice-chair and Mr. Balsillie shifting to an ordinary directorship. Barbara Stymiest, a respected former Royal Bank executive and RIM director at the time of the management changes, became the company's board chair.

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