Lazaridis bows out at BlackBerry

Lazaridis bows out at BlackBerry

Summary: Mike Lazaridis, the legendary businessman that founded the former Research in Motion, will retire, the company announced this morning.

Photo: BlackBerry

It is the end of yet another era at the former Research in Motion.

During its quarterly earnings call this morning, the newly-christened BlackBerry announced that Mike Lazaridis will retire as vice chairman and director of the Canadian company on May 1. The move, while mostly symbolic, is the latest milestone in the company's turnaround effort in which it replaced its leadership team and shed employees in response to rapidly declining revenues.

"Mike revolutionized the mobile communications industry and is widely recognized as one of Canada's greatest innovators," chief executive Thorsten Heins said. "He's played a pivotal role in the last 15 months with the launch of BlackBerry 10. I deeply respect his desire to devote his full-time efforts to his new venture."

That new venture is Quantum Valley Investments, a $100 million investment fund that is focused on commercial applications in quantum information science. His interest in the field has been long-established, and his name adorns the "Quantum-Nano Centre" at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Lazaridis has indicated his interest in building a "Quantum Valley" in Canada.

Lazaridis famously co-founded RIM almost 30 years ago. Until last year, he served as a co-CEO of the company alongside Jim Balsillie. The pair were a force to be reckoned with during RIM's "CrackBerry" heyday, when everyone on Capitol Hill seemed to have one and owners proudly displayed their "BlackBerry thumb" injuries. But they were increasingly seen as out-of-touch and a liability as the company's fortunes reversed when the mobile market moved to favor touchscreen devices. Under fire from investors (and virtually everyone else), the duo handed the reins over to Heins, then the company's chief operating officer.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobility, Smartphones

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Classic visionary

    Mike has always been a big thinker with The Institute for Quantum Computing, the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and now Quantum Valley Investments. When quantum computing becomes the next big thing, I wouldn't be surprised to see Mr. Lazaridis in the lead.
  • Buzz88 .. it's nice of you to be effusive

    But in reality, his shortsightedness in recent years nearly ended RIM for completely. Granted, as the founder, he deserves the credit and honor to a degree. But if his and Ballsillies actions (..or is that more aptly 'inaction'), were the reason for RIM's NDE, than he should really have fallen on his sword earlier.

    Am i being coldly harsh? It's possible. Am i speaking the cold, hard facts - without the rose-tinted spec's you're walking round in? Definitely ... and make no bones about it, i mean every word.

    You go on and have a nice day now.
    • Not sure it's worth the effort...

      to reply to a moronic poster like you, but if you actually took the time to read what I wrote it had nothing to do with BlackBerry, it was about his work outside of BlackBerry. Work that'll lead to a new generation of computing, you know, the kind of stuff small minded people can't understand. Yall have a nice day now Roy.
      • i don't a flying monkey's

        what you think of my post(s).

        But since you're really that slow on the uptake, read the article heading. Are you really so ignorant as to think the guy will be remembered for what he did for a Kids R Us charity dinner? A Toast Masters ceremony (or two)? Really, is that the best comeback you can think up?? Do you really think the world will judge him based on that? That the technology world cares for this dinosaur's extracurricular activities? Gee wizz .. that stuff you're smoking is obviously pretty powerful.

        Listen, everything this guy did at RIM, and all he will be remembered for, are his failings at RIM. Since you're in the absolute minority .. clearly don't have a clue .. and since you apparently care for the guy so much, why not start a fan club? Go on .. back your words up. Let's see how that pans out for you, wiseguy.

        See y'round moron.
        • " i don't a flying monkey's" ... a literary genius

          I love it when the mouth breathers of the Internet try look literate, but even a spell checker can't hide the truth.
  • Mike is keeping his shares in Blackberry

    It is important for bbry investors to know that Mike is keeping his shares in Blackberry.
    I wonder way most writers are omitting this positive news for investors?