Mike Lazaridis steps down from BlackBerry Board

Mike Lazaridis
By Adam Zeis on 28 Mar 2013 08:12 am EDT

Mike Lazaridis will be stepping down from the board at BlackBerry effective May 1, 2013. He and Jim Balsillie had both remained on the board after stepping down as co-CEOs last year, however Jim left the board in May and sold off his remaining BlackBerry shares a few months ago.

Mike will remaining on the board for a few more weeks before officially stepping down from his position as Vice Chair.

"With the launch of BlackBerry 10, I believe I have fulfilled my commitment to the Board," Lazaridis said. "Thorsten and his team did an excellent job in completing BlackBerry 10. We have a great deal of which to be proud. I believe I am leaving the company in good hands. I remain a huge fan of BlackBerry and, of course, wish the company and its people well."

You can read more on this and the BlackBerry year-end results in the full press release.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Mike Lazaridis steps down from BlackBerry Board



He's done excellent with the choice to purchase QNX! Too much hate against the old guard and for now reason than a difficult and slow movement to that new core os, it's not easy to do. Apple had a silent project with osx for 10 yrs and their PC platform took 7mths to change cpu's.

Hoping he still keeps some stock as a token of faith, or as ongoing investments. Most likely not dur to heavy tax benefits.

Still blackberry is firing on 4/8 cylinders of its engine and getting g awesome mileage. We'll see next quarterly report. :)

Posted via CB10

Ow :( that is sad.

Being an Engineer and interested in related things, I felt Lazaridis was an extremely inspirational person within that field.

Wish him all the best in his new endeavours.

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Just wanna say a big "thank you" to Mike and for all he has done and created. Besides the bad press the past years. People seem to forget without Mike there would not be Blackberry which was first real step into the smartphone and mobile computing world! All the best to him!! He is a true pioneer!

Indeed, couldnt have said it better. Without him, there would no crackberry or crackberries...it would be a world of Android and iphones *shudders*.

All the best to you Mike, thank you for your hard work and patience bringing us our beloved Blackberry devices.

It's worse than that. It would be a world where Windows Mobile (not Windows Phone) would have dominated the market and we might not have any real competition at all. As much as I would have liked to think Palm could have competed they were much like BB in that they were run by visionaries not astute businessmen. Microsoft let's other companies envision the future and just takes what sticks.

Mike is one smart and classy guy! Wish I knew him personally, but I've seen him from a distance. I've read a few books on the company but my favorite read was BlackBerry: The Inside Story from a few years back. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13235424-blackberry. It really tells the story from the beginning and you get to understand the heart and mind of the man, Mike Lazaridis.

He has such high standards and a fantastic attitude. I hate to see him leave the company. Perhaps he feels his work is done here because the company is in "safe hands", but with rumors of selling the company and licensing the software, I'm a little weary and nervous. Mike is just an honest and hard working fellow who never enjoyed being in the spotlight. However, he did what he had to do to make BlackBerry succeed.

The BlackBerry community salutes you, Mike. You'll always be a hard act to follow, but we also thank you for hand picking Thorston to take over the reigns. He has done a phenomenal job in just 13 months.

Nevertheless, we see Mike's incredible handiwork on BB10, and this is one fantastic OS which will only gain legions of followers in the coming months. It will also be imitated and copied by many. In many ways, that is a compliment. BlackBerry has blown the doors open and changed the idea of what a smartphone UI should be able to do.

We all wish you well in your endeavours with your Perimeter Institute and other ventures. You will be missed.

Looks like the guys who knows how to make good deal to make money leaves the ship before it sinks... Maybe he knows the real number of sales and it's not good...

I wrote this quickly, sorry it could be take as a Troll but not at all ! I love BlackBerry but thoses guys created this company and for me, it's really weird to left like this... I only see two possibly reason : He got kicked out but the official statement is this one, or he feels it's going to be bad for the company and he left. Sorry to say that but thoses guys really thinks about money and to leave like that and sell all his share is not a good sign...

The investors have ill-will toward the old guard... in a way, Mike staying around is a negative, despite the respect he has from the BlackBerry faithful. I was hoping he'd stay on as some kind of technical advisor, but I don't think he's divesting himself, he's possibly going to be able to provide advice... but BB is in really good hands now.

As far as "Golden Parachutes" are concerned, if I were Mike I'd take the money, too. Mike L. has big dreams and is a visionary and that $7 million might just lead to breakthroughs in quantum computing or provide the research funds for the next Mike L. to emerge from the Perimeter Institute. That money won't be spent on an all-white 48 room mansion.

There is no mention of his selling his shares; recall he put another $50 million into shares when he changed his role. If he sells, we would know under SEC rules.

Truly is the final step in the changing of the guard but I bet we have not heard the last of Mike Lazaridis.

he needed to. i will never forget how behind he was with the decline of the APP availability of the changing times. i saw it a mile away, and the lack of integration was the major reason i left blackberry back then. BUT this is a new time for blackberry and we need NEW BLOOD, tho he will be missed.

The comment about app availability is a bit incorrect. There have always been apps on BlackBerry (and Symbian and Windows Mobile and Palm and other platforms). Always. There have always been SDKs and there have always been developer relations teams.

"Apps" did not come about on mobile devices once Apple released the App Store. However, you have to give Apple kudos for being able to market the hell out of apps and recruit developers more aggressively. And you have to give them kudos for recognizing the fragmentation and limitations of the BlackBerry OS platform by jumping in with something a lot newer.

I bet he's leaving because he's probably also going to be selling his shares, meaning he will no longer have enough shares to vote himself in, and he probably feels enough other shareholders won't vote him in

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great man knows its time to let things go in the right direction had so much respect for Mike L best of luck with the new quantum venture

Wow.. a mind blowing surprise.. C'mon Kevin.. you left this out?? :)
On that note, he is a solid guy.. i too wish him well in his endeavors..

I think this pretty much means he'll be done being involved in the company, and is going to focus on other things. Not playing an active role makes you wonder if he'll be cashing out soon. It'd be nice if his new projects he is working on can utilize QNX and BB technologies.

Congrats on Mike Lazaridis, not only for the innovation he provided and his contribution in mobile tech but also for his projects connected with interest of tech promoting the well being of people in other fields and industries.

I believe that the very fact that even though he stepped down as "captain" he maintained his position in the bridge of the ship until it reached as safe waters as possible is highly indicative of the caliber and ethos of Mike Lazarides. He can now step down, take a breath.
This alone says a lot a bout the man!
all the best Mike!

Best thing I have heard in ages.
Sorry, but to those who have worked for Blackberry, Mike L was the biggest hindrance to progress for many years. I remember town hall meetings when he balled people out when they criticised his management of the company.
He did well to start the company, but should have moved on years ago.

BlackBerry (RIM), The house that Mike and Jim built. Thank you both for the creation of the backberry. Though it has been a bumpy ride the last few years. It is an honor sticking by the company and its addictive product. I would also agree that Thorsten and his team did an excellent job and I feel that they will continue your legacy for years to come.

I would only wish him well if he was stepping down because he was ill and dying. He's abandoning the company at a important time looks shady....good ridding

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He isn't abandoning the company. Read the crackberry blogs and other news media around blackberry. It sucks that you are so hostile in your comment towards a man who made great achievements. Thorstein Heins runs blackberry now.

Why do people get so caught up in the fact that Jim Balsille sold all his shares in BlackBerry? Did everyone forget how egotistical this guy was? Always downplaying the competition and that he knew better. Also, was too busy trying to buy an NHL team when the company was in trouble.

I'm not saying that he didn't help BlackBerry become what it is today, but people of this caliber have too much of an ego that they get blinded by what's right. Same thing happened to Steve Jobs when he resigned from Apple. He liquidated all his shares because he was upset that he was reduced down to a lower level. The company wasn't even in trouble to argue that he sold his shares because the company wasn't going anywhere.

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"Also, was too busy trying to buy an NHL team when the company was in trouble."

Didn't know you personally had access to his daytimer?

Amazing how people make personal assessments about people that they don't actually know personally. Unless you were there to witness everything first hand ...

I am sad he is leaving. Mr. Blackberry best of luck on your new endevours. Hopefully Blackberry will somehow be linked up with quantam and nano technology, how cool would that be !

People need to stop being analytical and just accept it. He was a great man & innovator. He will be missed and remembered. Now he has moved on to create better things and not waste his time on politics that surround the smartphone industry. Real ideas come when politics are not mixed into the equation. All the best to him and I can't wait to see his new idea's surface up in the future.

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A great Man Indeed Mike Lazaridis. Thank you for all that time you stay with Blackberry. May God lead you to the next step. Good luck Sir! You will always be in our heart. Again thank YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great contributor.:)

Thanks for all the hard work over the years Mike and wish you great success in future projects.

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Thank you Mike for all that you have done, and for all that you will continue to do for our community.
You are truly inspiring.

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Here's to you, Mike L. !
I hope you enjoy all the work you are doing with nanotechnology, etc.


He sounds rather bitter... Good riddance I say... He almost completely killed the company (and frankly, the damage he did may be too great for Thor or anyone to save) with his failure to adapt quickly enough to the changing smartphone industry...

Yes, his nadir was when he walked off the set of the BBC interview, declaring "this interview is over."

CEO's have a short shelf life, and he went moldy in 2009. It is regrettable that the board failed to replace him sooner, as it cost RIM dearly in lost business.

Thorstein is really the right guy for the right time. He is getting the ship in order, and there are so many variables (massive OS7-> OS10 transition, layoffs, being in the red, tablet roadmap, market share losses, developer relations, and falling brand awareness) that he deserves spectacular credit for navigating Blackberry through choppy waters with surgical precision.

You are an inspiration and a visionary.
Your creation was unique and 'something special'! It changed my world for the better.
Thanks & Gratitude always. Best wishes to you & your family.

No Mike, no RIM.
No RIM, no BBRY.

Thank you Mister Lazaridis. Enjoy your new job !
P.S: please, don't sell your stocks (if ever you plan to) before the short squeeze: more money for you, more pain for them, more revenge for us !

Mike Lazaridis did make a very valuable contribution to RIM and he did have a very successful run in BlackBerry's early days and for that I am thankful. But we cannot ignore his faults as well. He failed to adjust and change with the times or react to what his competitors were doing, even after being urged by those that worked for him until very late in the game. One thing I am thankful for was his decision to buy QNX, which has given us our new BB10 platform. I wish him the best and wish him all the success in his new venture.