If you can't trust executive management to get the job done, then whom can you trust? Typically, the answer to that question is the board of directors. That should especially be the case if management has shown an extended disregard for much-needed strategic reform.
With Research In Motion
While Balsillie and Lazaridis share both roles, they serve different purposes at the company. Lazaridis is more soft-spoken and focuses on technical product details and engineering, while Balsillie handles finances and marketing and leads board meetings.
At the end of June, RIM had agreed to form a "committee of independent directors" to evaluate the company's corporate-governance structure and said a report would be issued by the end of January with a recommendation. I'll offer up a freebie to RIM that doesn't take seven months to conclude: Have one CEO and one chairman, and preferably boot Balsillie and Lazaridis.
Sadly, RIM's board already knows this. Having separate CEO and chairman roles is Chapter 1 in Good Corporate Governance 101. Out of RIM's nine-member board, seven of them (all but Balsillie and Lazaridis) are independent. Out of the seven independent directors, two of them are corporate-governance "experts."
Roger Martin is the dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and has written extensively on the topic. The school also touts itself as an educational honcho on corporate governance. Barbara Stymiest has substantial experience at the Royal Bank of Canada
RIM's board is guilty of complacency. It's not quite as bad as Hewlett-Packard's
Well, at least they have Angry Birds.
Research In Motion is on a crash course and has left the mobile party prematurely, which is a shame, because the mobile revolution is going to be huge. But just because RIM is missing out, that doesn't mean you have to. We've just released a brand-new, 100% free report that details one stock that is in an enviable position powering the mobile Trillion-Dollar Revolution from the inside, while also having exposure to China's red-hot growth. I like the stock so much I've given it an outperform CAPScall. Grab the report now to find out what company I'm talking about.
Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple and Amazon.com, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, Amazon.com, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Google, Apple, and Microsoft and creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.