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Golden parachutes for Balsillie, Lazaridis in wake of RIM ouster

According to a filing with the SEC, co-CEO Jim Balsillie received the greater amount -- about $7.93 million in total entitlements -- upon his departure.

Research In Motion's former co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis might have run into some trouble in their waning days at the company, but that didn't stop the mobile firm from giving them some serious entitlements to make their departure a bit easier to handle.

RIM yesterday filed a form 6K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), outlining how it compensated its former co-CEOs upon their ouster. According to that filing, Balsillie received $7.93 million in "entitlements" made up of about $4.8 million in cash, health and welfare plans for himself and his family for two years, and accelerated vesting of his restricted stock units.

Lazaridis had a similarly impressive golden parachute, getting entitlements of $3.96 million from RIM. Those entitlements included accelerated restricted stock units valued at $3.1 million, as well as continued use of his office and executive assistance, and the use of a car and driver for two years.

RIM announced the departure of Balsillie and Lazaridis earlier this year after suffering a number of setbacks competing against Apple and Android. The executives, who had presided over some of RIM's greatest triumphs and lately, its greatest failures, were replaced as chief executive by Thorsten Heins.

In its 6K filing, RIM justified its decision to offer so much to its former co-CEOs by outlining what it believes were their sizable achievements in the mobile space.

"Messrs. Lazaridis and Balsillie revolutionized the worldwide wireless industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry and forever changed how the world communicates," the company writes. "Under their leadership, the Company successfully navigated many challenges and quickly scaled to become a global company and industry leader with sales in over 175 countries and more than 17,000 employees worldwide. Over the last decade, the Company experienced tremendous growth, with annual revenues increasing from $294 million to just under $20 billion."

For shareholders, however, the concern is value. And over the last year, RIM's shares have plummeted 72 percent.

(Via All Things Digital)