2 Golden Parachutes at Research In Motion

The last things Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) needs right about now are golden parachutes.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what it gave to its ex-co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. The company just disclosed that amid the management shakeup that dethroned the duo and handed over the key to the sinking ship to Thorsten Heins, Lazaridis is taking home a compensation package worth about $4 million, while Balsillie's parachute is worth just under $8 million.

How does the company justify such a hefty payout amid the company's spectacular fall from grace at the hands of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android? Because the pair "revolutionized the worldwide wireless industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry and forever changed how the world communicates." Under a decade of their leadership, RIM grew annual sales from $294 million to nearly $20 billion. RIMM Chart

RIMM data by YCharts

What the company didn't point out is how Balsillie and Lazaridis underestimated the rise of iOS and Android and failed to adapt amid the brutal competitive landscape.

At the rate that RIM continues to lose market share, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Phone has a chance of occupying the third-place spot in the mobile landscape.

This payout is just embarrassing, although it's not nearly as bad as Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) severance payout last year for Leo Apotheker, who destroyed much more value in much less time and got paid out much more.

It's even more embarrassing considering that Balsillie and Lazaridis had voluntarily slashed their annual salaries to $1 in a symbolic move to boost investor confidence, only to resign three weeks later and get this hefty payout.

Meanwhile, other execs continue to abandon ship en masse. Heins will be steering an empty boat before long.

RIM has been a nightmare for shareholders. Instead, consider these three safer Dow stocks that dividend investors need for a little stability. These stalwarts aren't likely to see the same gut-wrenching decline that RIM has, thanks to their sustainable businesses and solid dividend payouts. The report giving you all the details totally free.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Google and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2012, at 1:21 AM, fool414 wrote:

    I'm sorry, but the author is way over and its dissappponting to see how bad people speak of RIMM. I have a playbook and its QNX is NOWHERE near or for that matter, CANNOT be compared to apple. Apple doesn't even come close, so stop writing what we already know and write more on the future of QNX. That's all there is. If RIMM fails later on, that's fine. Poor writing and waste of time on behalf of author (my opinion)

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