TORONTO--Jim Balsillie, a former co-chief executive of Research In Motion Ltd. (BBRY) and one of Canada's richest men, has sold all his remaining shares in the company, according to a regulatory filing released Thursday.
Mr. Balsillie stepped down as co-CEO, and then from RIM's board, last year during a wide-ranging executive overhaul at the BlackBerry maker. Since then, he has retreated from the public spotlight. He had owned as much as 5.1% stake as recently as late 2011, but now holds no shares, according to the filing.
RIM opened up trading in New York down 92 cents, or 6.6%, at $13.07. That selling follows a 7.9% decline in RIM's share price on Wednesday.
Mr. Balsillie joined RIM in 1992, then a small company and the brainchild of co-founder Mike Lazaridis, who also stepped down as co-CEO last year but remains on the board and is still a major shareholder.
Mr. Balsillie was the hard-charging front man for the company, pushing BlackBerrys as the must-have device for politicians and businessmen. He helped expand the company internationally and build it into a recognized brand.
Before Mr. Balsillie's Thursday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, he had previously been one of RIM's biggest shareholders. He held about a 5.1% stake in RIM as of the end of 2011, according to the most recently available data, making him at the time the company third largest shareholder.
Mr. Lazaridis owned 5.7% of RIM, as of May 2012, according to RIM's most recent proxy circular.
Thorsten Heins took over from Messrs. Balsillie and Lazaradias as CEO in early 2012 and has bet the company's future on the newly launched BlackBerry 10 operating system and two new smartphone devices that will run off it.
-Write to Ben Dummett at [email protected]
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