Folks at 501 Broadway probably aren't shedding too many tears over today's news out of Canada:
Under intense pressure from a group of shareholders, Research in Motion Ltd. is preparing to unveil a corporate shakeup at the beleaguered BlackBerry maker that could see co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie relinquish their titles as co-chairmen of the board, according to sources.
Balsillie — who famously, of course, made a play to buy the Nashville Predators and went so far as to accept season-ticket deposits for a team he didn't own under the presumption he'd be moving it to Hamilton, Ontario — and Lazaridis reduced their salary to $1 last month. But even their peppercorn gambit doesn't look like it will save their jobs.
Foremost of the criticism of Balsillie was that he was unable to adapt to the changing landscape of the handheld market with the emergence of Apple and seemed repeatedly unaware of how to stay competitive.
And what else? Ask Barry Richards, an analyst at Paradigm Capital:
It doesn't help matters that both executives are incredibly busy. Lazaridis is involved with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Balsillie with the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Balsillie's intense focus on buying an NHL franchise in recent years likely diverted his attention, too. "Those guys are phenomenal, but they try to do too much, and there's not enough depth in the senior management around them," says Richards, who supports the company with a Buy rating on the stock.
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