With his once-dominant smartphone Blackberry under siege by competitors who reacted more quickly to changing tastes and fourth-quarter earnings set to be revealed on April 4, BlackBerry announced that former co-founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis will give up his seat on the board as Vice-Chairman and Director on May 1.
Lazaridis, who was born in Turkey and immigrated to Canada with his Greek parents as a child, attended university in Waterloo, where he co-founded Research In Motion (RIM) in 1984, the same year he released the Blackberry
Lazaridis now has attention on Quantum Valley Investment, a fund targeting commercial applications in quantum information science. Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, RIM’s co-founder, announced their new $100-million business fund in March.
“I’m really proud of what we built together at RIM, and I believe I’m leaving it in good hands, and remain one of its largest shareholders,” Lazaridis told the news agency Reuters in an interview. When asked whether he will hold on to that investment, he said he has no plans to do otherwise and sell his stake. He owns 5.7 percent of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, according to Thomson Reuters data from December 31, 2012.
Lazaridis said he went to the board month and asked them to make Thorsten Heins Chief Executive, the Financial Post reported. “I was asked to reconsider my decision to give up the CEO post, but I promised the board that I would assist Thorsten and his team in the completion of the development of BB10,” he said. “I believe I’ve now fulfilled my commitment to the board.”