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BlackBerry to pay John Chen $3-million in salary and bonus, $85-million in stock

John Chen, incoming CEO of BlackBerry Ltd., is shown in a May 18, 2009 file photo.

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

The executive being parachuted in to rescue BlackBerry Ltd. stands to gain some $3-million (U.S.) in combined salary and bonus, and longer-term stock awards that would be worth $85-million at today's share price.

According to regulatory documents filed today, John Chen, who becomes executive chair and interim chief executive officer, will be paid a base salary of $1-million and a performance bonus of $2-million more.

He will also be given 13 million restricted share units that will vest over the course of five years, 25 per cent on his third and fourth anniversary and the rest on his fifth.

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"If Mr. Chen's employment is terminated without cause, he will be entitled to be paid his salary for the remainder of the year in which he is terminated as well as two times his base salary and two times his base bonus (total of $6-million), and be entitled to benefits (excluding those relating to transportation for 18 months following such termination," according to the document.

BlackBerry unveiled it was bringing in Mr. Chen, the former chief of Sybase Inc., when it announced Monday that its proposed deal to be sold to a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. had fallen through.

Instead, the embattled smartphone maker opted for a $1-billion debt sale.

As The Globe and Mail's Iain Marlow reports today, Fairfax is part of that deal. Also buying in are Mackenzie Financial Corp., Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Markel Corp., Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. and Qatar Holding LLC.

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About the Author
Report on Business News Editor

Michael Babad is a Report on Business editor and co-author of three business books. He has been with Report on Business for several years, and has also been a reporter and editor at The Toronto Star, The Financial Post and United Press International. His articles have appeared in major newspapers around the world. More

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