05/28/2012 03:10 EDT | Updated 07/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Research In Motion loses another senior executive, chief legal officer retiring

TORONTO - Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) is losing another senior executive as its chief legal officer is retiring amid reports RIM may announce a major restructuring this week, a move that could result in thousands of job cuts.

RIM said Monday that Karima Bawa had been in discussions about her retirement for some time and plans to stay on to help with the transition once a replacement has been hired.

"Karima has been a tireless advocate for RIM’s business during more than a decade of hyper growth and she continues to actively support our business in her chief legal officer role on a daily basis," RIM president and chief executive Thorsten Heins said in a statement.

Bawa's retirement follows the departure last week of Patrick Spence, the BlackBerry maker's head of global sales.

Changes in the senior leadership at RIM follow the appointment of Heins as RIM's president and chief executive earlier this year. Heins replaced co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis after months of pressure from shareholders.

Several reports have suggested RIM will cut at least 2,000 jobs at its operations around globe as part of a massive restructuring. The cuts would follow a move last year to cut roughly 2,000 jobs.

The company has about 16,500 employees.

RIM has been working to turn around its operations after watching its marketshare be taken away by Apple's iPhone and other smartphones running Google's Android operating system.

The BlackBerry 10 platform is seen as an important part of RIM's attempt to compete when it is released in the coming months.

Earlier this month, the company announced it was bringing in two veterans from the mobile computing industry.

Kristian Tear, who joined RIM from Sony Mobile Communications where he was executive vice-president, is the new chief operating officer, while Frank Boulben, the former executive vice-president of strategy, marketing and sales for LightSquared, joined as chief marketing officer.

RIM shares were up three cents to $11.37 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.