BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) is losing its chief legal officer Karima Bawa, as senior management continue to leave the struggling smartphone firm.

Bawa has been with RIM for 12 years, has led the company through a number of patent battles and put pen to paper on behalf of the company on a number of major commercial deals.

Her departure comes after head of global sales Patrick Spence stepped down last week. Falling sales and a major global BlackBerry network outage preceded co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie resigning in January, to be replaced by Thorsten Heins.

Reports in Canada also moot an imminent announcement from RIM covering 2,000 global redundancies among the firm's 16,500 staff, with suggestions that the eventual total headcount could soon come down to as little as 10,000. Not so long ago RIM employed 20,000 people.

As well as cutting costs, a major focus for RIM is the introduction of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which will replace the legacy Java-based OS used on its devices.

RIM said Bawa was retiring, and that she would stick around to help find her successor.