BlackBerry offers bumper package to new CEO


By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd will payits new interim CEO a base salary of $1 million, a bonus of upto twice that amount as well as stock awards potentially worthsome $85 million, in the hopes of turning around Canada's mostprominent technology company.

John Chen, the second consecutive chief executive officer atBlackBerry to receive a bumper package, will have to help theembattled smartphone maker regain its footing and win backmarket share ceded to the likes of Apple's iPhone and arange of devices that run on Google Inc's Androidoperating system.

Chen was credited with turning around Sybase Inc in the late1990s. Sybase, an enterprise software company, was eventuallyacquired by SAP AG in 2010.

Chen's share awards only begin to vest after he completesthree years with BlackBerry, and the majority of the optionswill vest only after he completes his fifth year, according to aregulatory filing late on Thursday.

Should Chen be fired without cause, he will be paid up to $6million, according to the filing.

Chen's appointment came after BlackBerry stunned many onMonday when it abandoned plans to sell itself and instead optedto raise funds via a $1 billion notes offering led by Fairfax, its largest shareholder.

Fairfax, led by investment guru Prem Watsa, had said it wasinvesting $250 million in the offering.

In its filing on Thursday, BlackBerry said Canso InvestmentCounsel Ltd is investing $300 million in the offering, whileMackenzie Financial, Markel Corp, Qatar Holding, andBrookfield Asset Management are buying the remainder.

As part of the financing deal, BlackBerry has agreed to paya fee to the investors if it does reach an alternate deal thatresults in the sale of the company, either before, or within 30days of the close of this deal.

Depending on the circumstances, the fee could range between$135 million and $250 million.

The investors have also pledged to a standstill agreement,for a period of one year, that restricts them from owning morethan 19.9 percent of the company's outstanding shares, a movelikely aimed at preventing any creeping takeover of BlackBerry.

Thorsten Heins, who is forced to step down as BlackBerry'sCEO as one of the terms attached to the financing deal, couldalso be set to receive millions in severance after two years inthe job. The exact amount will depend on the terms settled withthe company.

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