RIM investors re-elect board but revolt bubbles

RIM's annual shareholders meeting has kicked off, and investors are already restless as the company's CEO and former CEO are re-elected to the board. Mike Lazaridis and Thorsten Heins were among ten people elected to RIM's board, with investors expressing their dissatisfaction by withholding 19.1-percent of votes for Lazaridis and 14.8-percent for Heins. There are already questions as to how prepared RIM is to take on its smartphone and tablet rivals.

Leading the revolt is long-term thorn in RIM's side, Jaguar Investments, which has been pushing for the company to sell off or license its patent portfolio since last year. Chairman and CEO of the investment group, Vic Alboini, was unsurprisingly present at the meeting.

Even before voting began, Alboini was vocal in his concerns. "Is it the board's intent through your leadership as chair to aggressively seek technology-experienced board members" he asked, "that would bolster the strength of this board?"

RIM chair Barbara Stymiest insisted that the company was happy that it had the right skill-set represented on the board, and confirmed that the BlackBerry company had used the services of an external skills-hunting service to make sure the right people were present.

After the votes were counted, Alboini insisted on hearing the number of withheld votes for all of the candidates. "This is not an overwhelming approval for each of the directors" Alboini highlighted, and indeed 5 out of the 10 re-elected had 20-percent or more votes withheld.