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BlackBerry faces investors at annual meeting

07/09/2013 11:02 EDT | Updated 09/08/2013 05:12 EDT
Executives at Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion are facing questioning from investors Tuesday at the company's annual general meeting.

Board chair Barbara Stymiest began proceedings a little after 10 a.m. with housekeeping matters, including votes on re-electing the company's board of directors, the compensation and stock option plan, and the proposal to change the company's name to line up with its ubiquitous product, BlackBerry.

All of those motions passed, which means the company is now officially known as BlackBerry.

A question-and-answer period will follow the administrative votes, and that's where executives are expected to face some angry shareholders.

BlackBerry shares gained a little over one per cent on the TSX, trading hands at $10.24 nearing midday.

The company has seen more than a quarter of its value wiped out after the company released disappointing first-quarter results recently. The company posted another quarterly loss, a trend that's expected to continue in the short term.

After housekeeping matters had been completed, Stymiest then turned the floor over to CEO Thorsten Heins, who laid out more details of the company's turnaround strategy.

He said the company is in phase two of a three-step plan to return to profitability. Step one began the day he was hired as CEO in early 2012 and consisted of streamlining operations and cutting costs. Step two is the rollout of BlackBerry 10 operating system and smartphones, which the company says is the core of its global products from here on out.

The devices are now available in more than 90 countries, and more are being added to the list every day, Heins said.

But Heins said he doesn't expect profitability to return until the next phase, so he urged shareholders to be patient while the company implements his plan.

"We're doing the right things and we're doing the things we said we'd do" he added.

The shareholder meeting is the first since the company released its new Z10 and Q10 smartphones running the BlackBerry 10 operating system in April.

The new devices have been seen as the company's last hope to turn itself around after losing ground to Apple's iPhone and other Android-powered smartphones.

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