Mike Lazaridis discusses stepping down as co-CEO of RIM, confidence in the future of the company and Thorsten Heins

Mike Laziridis
By Michelle Haag on 28 Jan 2012 05:13 pm EST
As the new CEO of Research In Motion, Thorsten Heins has been doing a lot of interviews this week, including a couple with our own CrackBerry Kevin. He's not the only one sharing his thoughts; Mike Lazaridis, former co-CEO and one of the founders of RIM, sat down with The Record for an interview as well. He revealed that not only was this decision not made overnight, but in fact was planned out over the last four years, as Thorsten was groomed for the position. Even with all of the planning, Mike admitted that stepping aside after 27 years was an emotional event for him, as well as for his whole family. “Working so hard, with a 24-by-7 workload for so long, my biggest regret was not having enough time for my family. I need to correct that over the next few years. My kids have not gone to university yet, and so hopefully, I will correct that before they leave,” said Mike.

Mike feels very confident that Research In Motion is heading in the right direction. He believes so strongly in the company, the products, and the leadership of Thorsten that he has purchased an additional $50 million in company shares. “I am a major shareholder. This company has a strong balance sheet of $1.5 billion. It has strong sales of over $5 billion a quarter. This is a strong organization with a strong global brand, an iconic product and a strong future,” Lazaridis said. “I love the company. I love these employees. They are my extended family.

Mike appears to be a big supporter and fan of Thorsten too. “I absolutely know he will take this company to new heights," Mike said, later adding “This was the perfect opportunity, and we knew that Thorsten and the executive team were ready” when speaking about RIM's plan for new product launches and the new platform coming this year. He also seems to be looking at the change realistically, noting that in every major company there comes a time when this (change of leadership) needs to happen. “Founder-based companies, if they are successful, they get to this point.

Mike Lazaridis will remain at Research In Motion in a new role as vice-chair of the board and chair of the board's new Innovation Committee. He hopes to inspire and mentor future young entrepreneurs that will build the next big technology company in Canada. He encourages all Canadians to believe in their country, and never make the mistake of underestimating their abilities or the great institutions they have built.

Don’t hesitate,” he says to the next generation of entrepreneurs. “If you fail, try again. You can change course, you can change paths, and you can change strategies, but never give up.

Source: The Record
Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1210 (articles) 1694 (forum posts)

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Mike Lazaridis discusses stepping down as co-CEO of RIM, confidence in the future of the company and Thorsten Heins


"“Working so hard, with a 24-by-7 workload for so long, my biggest regret was not having enough time for my family. I need to correct that over the next few years. My kids have not gone to university yet, and so hopefully, I will correct that before they leave,” said Mike."

Good for you Mike, good for you. Get it right with the family. Your kids only grow up once!

He took RIM from an idea to a company with $20 billion in annual revenue. It's easy for people to snipe at Mr. Lazaridis but he did something only a few people have done in history. He also gave Canada something to be proud of and show that we can compete on the global stage.

Hear, hear. Mike was the brains behind this operation, and I'm frankly happy to see him leading the innovation subcommittee on the Board of Directors.

RIM had a bad year, essentially because of the disastrous decision to go head to head with the iPad 2 when the PlayBook simply wasn't ready.

I salute the graciousness of Jim and Mike in their decision to step back.

Being a good leader is knowing when to step aside. Good job Mr. Lazaridis, spend quality time with your family and keep it locked to crackberry.com

The father of BlackBerry. The Man, The Legend.

Lazaridis created something that set the standard for mobile communications. After years of exponential success and making all these investors significant profits - he found himself cornered by the same people. It just pains to see such a legend be treated this way.

I ask all the investors, "analysts" and the 20 somethings that know nothing of RIM / BlackBerry history - and wave their useless toys around, just one simple question. "When was the last time you created something that 75 million people around the globe used?"

Thank you Mike for not only the BlackBerry, but the BlackBerry lifestyle.

You will always be my hero.

Mike Deserves all the respect! he was treated disgustingly by the media and by fans which is the reason i never fell to the competition keeping the company Canadian and not giving up is the best thing he did. Thanks to him i have pride in being Canadian I love supporting my Country and having a strong global brand across the world i could say my country makes those.

I love the products ever since i got my first phone they have been blackberry. I will forever support this company and i will forever be a blackberry fan!!
Thanks Mike for making the best phone in the WORLD!

The Greatest thing about Mike and Jim is not only did Mike create an amazing platform and revolutionize communication and not only did Jim get his foot in the door with multiple carriers and sell the Blackberry to alot of High power execs They both have given back Alot. They could have so much more money then they do but they see the bigger picture and want to help out as much as they can. Being Canadian and feeling extremely proud of two fellow Canadians Mike and Jim and their legacy makes me love my Blackberry that much more.

Thank You Mike Lazaridis for your Amazing Vision and Unique Innovation
Thank You Jim Balsillie for Selling Mike's Great product so that I may share in your dream and Dream Big myself!!

Sent from my Blackberry Playbook

Nothing but respect and appreciation to this man!! Good time to step aside, enjoy your family and NOW you can look at the REAL big picture from outside and just enjoy life!

Looking forward to RIM's awesome future and products.

Ian B
Bold 9900 & PlayBook 64GB Wifi

Mike, we will miss you. I know the decision was hard, but the situation was not healthy for you or your family in the end. Too many greedy, angry, and misguided investors. I'm sorry to say that, but calls to sell and break up the company doesn't help anything, except the scavengers hungry to feast on all you've worked on for 27 years. That's not right, especially since you have always been truthful, honest, and your company is healthy: $1.5 billion in cash, almost $20 billion in sales last year, and a huge following of loyal customers, 75 million strong and growing!

Kudos to you and Jim for building RIM into a great, great company! You pioneered this wireless space, and you will always be remembered for your awesome contribution in the mobile world. 2012 will be amazing for RIM with BlackBerry 7.1, PlayBook OS 2.0, BlackBerry 10, new PlayBooks, and next generation BlackBerrys. Wow! The future looks bright because of you, so hold your head up and we hope you will continue to contribute towards RIM's success now and in the future!

Btw, Mike, I have the awesome 9860, the fantastic 9900, a 9810, and two PlayBooks in our household!

If I accomplished even one-tenth in my lifetime what Mike Lazaridis has accomplished already, that would still be about ten times more than I could have hoped for.

I just hope nobody sees this move as a sign of weakness; if anything, it's a sign of strength.

Mr. Lazaridis, you're a hero!

I will miss mike, He loves the company and its employees and its customers. Most millionairs forget how they got there. He has passion about the platform. My love for blackberry is very strong. Mike i hope we still hear from you!!!!

oh yeah, we have 4 playbooks 3, 16G and 1,32G 1,9900 2,9930 1,9860 1,9670 and 2,8530. We all love are berrys that mine and my sisters house hold!!!!! Long live Blackberry

Thanks, Mike for building this brand, and thanks to Jim for selling it to the world. Mistakes happen, but I hope things turn around in 2012.

Mike may not be the most charismatic leader or sales guy but I am sure proud of what he had done. He had indeed brought Rim and BB to the world esp to the world of fairly cheap instant messaging, email/text and a ready and secure communication tool to the masses. Damn just look at what those 3rd world clown tyrant do first when their citizens revolt against them.
Makes me a proud Canadian.
We will rise again ..

there is always one a hole in the group and Jack K you are the one.

sent from my 64GB PlayBook running OS 2.0


I'm thankful for being able to enjoy a life enhanced by BlackBerry products and services.

Thanks Mike and Jim for providing such an outstanding technology platform to the world!



in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

I admire him. He contributed so much to the world and young generation. I see him a better person than SJobs. I think the whole world is proud of you Mike. Thank you very much.

As much irritation I've had with the US govt here as of late, I wish I was Canadian. I suppose I'm lucky to be connected to Canada :) when I 1st started getting into BB and RIM about 3 years ago, I really loved everything about it. I find myself reading through different parts of their history clear back to the beginning and learning all I can about all of their devices for at least the last 5 years. I'm very proud to be a (small) part of the BB and CB community and tip my hat to Mike as all in all, I think he has done a good job. I know he really cares about his people, company, and the legacy he has built himself. The experience with BB is like no other.

And I just want to point out that I got on the BB band wagon right as the press started to favor other platforms over BB and I've never looked back. We have 4 BB's in our household and my 32gb PlayBook.
Live on and "Let's Rock & Roll this!"
Boldly sent from my 9930

He feels very confident after they ruined everything they built by not knowing when to step back and letting others move the Company forward. I want you to succed RIM!

I will forever be a blackberry user, as my main device for communication and three computers for non-mobile use, I don't see myself using another platform. Blackberry for me since the 8130 and for life.

Blackberry Pearl 8130 > Blackberry Bold 9700 > Blackberry bold touch 9900. I still use my 9700 for web surfing and streaming media, even as a second camera! :)

I hope you have a wonderful life and keep innovating the younger blackberrians forever it may be! :) have a great time with the family and let them thrive! :)

I respect Mike for what he did for RIM and canadians but if he was planning to retire long time ago then he should retired last year and shares won't drop like this damaging the brand and perception. It's all about perception and making the wall stree happy..

I have not been behind RIM so long that I can act as if I were there from the beginning, though in retrsopect had I had not had an ignorant and blatantly stereotypical view of what BlackBerry culture was, I likely would've been. I'm approaching what, a year? Had a Storm 2, a 9650, and this 9930 and I'm happy. I regret making it so late, but I'd like to show my appreciation, simply because the work Mike has done has so much enriched my life. I wonder how I ever got on lol. It's true. At any rate, later is better than never and I admire him. Funny, RIM has managed to give me some pride in a country I may live next to but have never been to. Oh well, should you ever see this Mike, I'm glad you're honorable and are dedicating more to your family, and the work you've done has produced such a positive and downright wonderful impact on someone you've never even met. Thank you! Always, all the best!
*Sent from MY 9930*

For all the waiting longtime Blackberry customers did to get the latest software and devices that when finally released it was outdated!  The new CEO will definitly take RIM where the other two bafoons couldn't dream of in their twinkie filled world! Blackberry will Rock Out with its Stock out while Apple jams out with their handouts.

I cannot believe that anyone can be so angry and mean spirited at someone who has accomplished so very much and has dedicated his life to RIM. You always have had the option to put BB behind you and test the Android/Windows waters. I doubt that they would satisfy you either.

Sprint BBBold9930 and happy with BB, phone and Sprint(Since 1999)

My favorite memory of Mike: When all Hell broke loose for RIM, Mike dusted himself off, stood in front of all of us, and apologized. That doesn't happen in toady's business environment.
It is also part of the reason that I , and probably a few others, are still carrying BBs. Glad to see Mike is sticking around. A class act like him is hard to replace.


If it weren't for your ideas and creations we would not have BlackBerries. Thanks Mike, for giving us the Blackberry.

Mike. A good business man and just a good man.
I've always respected him and certainly feel his impact with the introduction of the BlackBerry that changed the world.
I rely on my BlackBerry for everything related to communications.

I'll say thanks but not goodbye. I'm sure Mike, with much less admin responsibilities will be able to both spend more time with his kids and come up with the next game changer.

BlackBerry all the way!

Mike you are the man !!!!!!!!!!! Keep your head hanging high because RIM is still STANDING!!!!!!!! The BLACKER THE BERRY THE SWEETER THE JUICE!!!!!!!! Great work........ ;)