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BlackBerry maker's chairman resigns

Jim Balsillie remains co-CEO of Research in Motion, which announces a $250-million restatement.

March 06, 2007|From Reuters

TORONTO — Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd., stepped down as chairman Monday as the company announced a $250-million earnings restatement relating to mistakes in how it granted stock options.

RIM said it found no intentional misconduct by executives, directors or other employees responsible for administering option grants.

However, the restatement, which affects the period from fiscal 2004 to the first quarter of fiscal 2007, is much larger than the company initially estimated.

In September, RIM said a restatement relating to its internal voluntary review of how it had awarded options could shave off $25 million to $45 million in earnings since its initial public stock offering in 1997.

Less than a month later, RIM said that it had found additional mistakes and that the amount would be substantially higher. It did not give a new estimate.

Still, even the $250-million reduction to earnings announced Monday is relatively small for Waterloo, Canada-based RIM, which earned $176 million in its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 2. Its option review covered more than 3,200 grants from late 1996 to August 2006.

Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek said he viewed the restatement as immaterial.

RIM's shares fell $1.45 to $134.52.

The company said that it would separate the roles of chairman and CEO and that Balsillie had stepped down voluntarily. He remains co-CEO and director.

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