Thorstein Heins Mangles BlackBerry, Walks Away With $16 Million Severance

Tyler Durden's picture

The last time we looked at Thorsten Heins' potential "golden parachute" farewell gift from Blackberry for, well, completing the destruction of the company started by former Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsille when he took over in early 2002, the amount could have been as gargantuan as $55 million. This number has subsequently been revised modestly lower, and while nobody is precisely sure just what Heins is entitled to, according to the Globe and Mail's latest calculation, the golden parachute in question could be as large as $16 million. Then again, considering RIMM stock back then was $18/share and by the time Heins left BBRY will be just over $6, one wonders if instead of any bonus Heins shouldn't instead be paying the company's long suffering shareholders for virtually destroying what was once the world's dominant smartphone brand.

From Globe and Mail:

Outgoing BlackBerry Ltd. chief executive officer Thorsten Heins could leave the company with about $16-million (U.S.) in severance payments and shares under the terms of a new employment agreement he signed with the company in April, regulatory filings show.

 

The company’s latest shareholder proxy circular, filed in May, says Mr. Heins would have been eligible to receive as much as $55.6-million in severance if the company was sold and he was dismissed. But he is also eligible for a large severance payout – as much as $22-million based on March figures – if he is simply terminated with no sale of the company.

 

However, his final severance amount will vary from the March calculation included in the proxy circular because much of the pay comes from equity holdings, which have changed since the chart was done in March.

 

BlackBerry announced Monday it has ended takeover talks with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., and said Mr. Heins is leaving the company. A company spokeswoman said BlackBerry could not comment on Mr. Heins’s severance payments “at this time.”

 

Under the terms of the severance agreement, Mr. Heins is eligible to receive two times his base salary – worth $3-million in total – as well as a portion of his annual bonus for the current year, based on his standard corporate and individual performance factors. As of March, that was estimated to be worth $2.8-million, but it is unknown what his bonus payout is currently worth.

 

The equity components of his severance are the largest piece, however, estimated at $16-million as of March.

His current equity holdings in BBRY, aside from incentive option grants, amount to a tiny 180k shares of stock.

Mr. Heins also has share units acquired previously, which are currently worth about $4-million based on BlackBerry’s share price of $7.10 on Monday morning, and has 813,000 stock options, which are underwater and not exercisable based on the company’s current share price.

 

Both the old share units and his stock options will continue to vest for 24 months, which means the final payout under his severance agreement will not be determined for two years.

 

He also owns 179,504 common shares, worth about $1.3-million based on Monday’s share price.

 

Based on the current value of his common shares and share units, along with the $5-million payout for his new share units and his eligible salary and bonus payments, Mr. Heins could leave BlackBerry with about $16-million.

 

That total is not the final payout value, however, because his options and share units will not fully vest for two years and the final bonus amount payable is not yet known.

It is known: it is too high. And the poetic irony? If Heins ends up being hired as a bankruptcy advisor by a company that may one day advise BBRY on its potential chapter 11 or 7 filing. That would be the definition of true "full lifecycle" service coverage.