Research In Motion Seeks New Legal Officer

Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, is seeking a new chief legal officer to replace Karima Bawa, the latest senior executive to announce their departure in under a week.

Bawa, who has been at RIM for 12 years, has been in talks with the company about her retirement “for some time,” the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. She plans to stay on to support the hiring and transition once a replacement has been named.

Bawa is the second recent high-profile departure from the company as it struggles to reverse tumbling sales as consumers increasingly opt for devices like Apple Inc.’s iPhone or handsets built on Google Inc.’s Android platform. Patrick Spence, RIM’s head of sales and one of the original staff to promote and market the device to banks on Wall Street, left the company last week after 14 years.

RIM’s share of the global smartphone industry fell by more than half to 6.4 percent last quarter, according to research firm IDC. Android’s share jumped to 59 percent, and Apple’s iOS operating system accounted for 23 percent.

RIM rose 0.4 percent to close at C$11.39 in Toronto. The stock has lost 74 percent of its value in the past year.

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