In a move certain to fuel additional criticism, floundering handset maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has disclosed to regulators millions of dollars in executive compensation paid to its former founders and co-CEOs.
The maker of the once-popular Blackberry phones said it had paid a combined $12 million to Mike Lazaridis and James Balsillie after they left the company in January.
The company paid Lazaridis $4 million, while Balsillie received $8 million, MSNBC noted.
According to documents filed with the SEC, RIM paid them in recognition of their revolutionary work creating the Blackberry.
The men, co-CEOs, were forced out of their jobs as the company’s decline accelerated. Their successor, Thorsten Heins has discussed a variety of options to save the sinking company, including selling it.
RIM’s market capitalization has fallen more than 90% from its 2008 high as Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and smartphones running Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android system have supplanted the Blackberry as the dominate players in the smartphone market, reducing RIM to a fading niche player.
Given RIM’s dramatic decline over the past four years, rewarding the CEO’s who presided over that performance seems like an odd move. A business professor cited by MSNBC called it another example of how performance and executive pay were increasingly disconnected.
Shares of RIM edged up slightly in Monday morning trading.