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RIM close to decision on co-CEOs

Company has been reviewing its unusual management structure on request of concerned investors

Research In Motion's shares have climbed 7% on hopes that the company will reshuffle its top management structure.
Research In Motion's shares have climbed 7% on hopes that the company will reshuffle its top management structure.

Research In Motion is close to reaching a decision on whether to strip its co-chief executives of their other shared role as chairman of the board, according to Reuters.

Angry and disillusioned investors have demanded changes in RIM's senior management and RIM shares leapt over 7% on hopes that the BlackBerry maker would acquiesce to demands for change.

The National Post newspaper, citing "sources familiar with events", said Barbara Stymiest, currently an independent member of RIM's board, is leading the race to replace Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in the chairmanship.

Lazaridis and Balsillie are RIM's second and third-largest shareholders with just over 5% of the company's stock each and share the two top-tier positions, as chairman and as CEO.

Both have so far resisted large scale changes to the company, even as investor pressures mounted and shares slumped 75% in 2011 after a series of profit warnings and dismal sales of the company's PlayBook tablet.

RIM is also facing a slump in BlackBerry sales in the US market and on Tuesday extended its PlayBook discount, offering each of the three storage sizes at a flat $299 until early February.

A 16 GB version initially sold for $499, while the 64GB version was $699. RIM sold around 850,000 PlayBooks from its launch in April until late November 2011, a small amount compared to iPad sales.

Ontario-based RIM agreed in June to review its unusual corporate structure and report back to investors by the end of January 2012.

RIM has said that a committee of seven independent directors was on track to deliver recommendations by 31st January 31.

RIM shares were 8.1% higher at $15.67 on the Nasdaq and up 7% on the Toronto Stock Exchange.