Selling BlackBerry Could Make CEO Thorsten Heins a Very Rich Man

With rumours swirling more wildly than ever that BlackBerry is up for sale, chief executive officer Thorsten Heins has a few good reasons to make his company someone else’s problem: 55.6 million reasons, to be exact.

The CEO of the Waterloo-based smartphone pioneer stands to make $55.6 million if he sells BlackBerry and is fired, according to a recent proxy filing. The figure includes salary, equity awards, and incentive payments, and is based on the company’s stock price at the end of its fourth fiscal quarter.

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Analysts were surprised to see a number so high, given the short term of Heins’ reign at the helm of BlackBerry and the company’s current state of affairs.

In related news, Toronto investor Prem Watsa, who is Blackberry’s largest shareholder, is stepping down from the board. This suggests Watsa may intend to help rescue the company in some fashion. But to be sold, BlackBerry needs a buyer, and according to failed efforts from both JPMorgan and RBC, there isn’t a lot of interest.

BlackBerry currently boasts a cash pile of nearly $3 billion and a treasure trove of valuable technology patents; however, it’s the company’s struggling smartphone division that is turning off potential bidders, sources say.

Photo: Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press