RIM reportedly in talks to appoint new chairman

Barbara Stymiest, indepedent director on company board emerges as leading candidate for chair, amid discussions on leadership changes within BlackBerry maker.

Research In Motion (RIM) is gearing up to unveil a corporate change which may see co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie relinquish their titles as the board's co-chairmen.

According to a report Tuesday by the National Post, sources familiar with the matter said Barbara Stymiest, an independent director who joined RIM's board in 2007, could be the leading candidate for the job.

Seven indepedent directors of RIM's board, including Stymiest have been analyzing RIM's board structure such as the benefits of having an independent chair rather than a lead director, and the "business necessity" to hold significant board titles.

The report by the company's independent directors was reported to be unveiled by Jan. 31, and RIM's full nine board members would also respond to the report's recommendations within 30 days.

Sources with knowledge on the matter also said the evaluation process was currently taking place at RIM and might lead to several different options and noted that a final decision had yet to be made. However, Stymist, formerly the head of TSX Group and COO at Royal Bank of Canda, was in line to become the company's first independent chair when the process ended, sources added.

A RIM spokesperson reiterated to the National Post that the committee was on track to propose recommendations by the end-January, but did not comment on potential leadership changes.

Northwest and Ethical Investments, a shareholder of RIM had been promised a role in studying leadership change within the company but reported in late-November that they had yet to have "any substantial discussions".