BlackBerry’s Lazaridis Says Board Wanted Him to Stay CEO

Mike Lazaridis, the inventor of the BlackBerry, announced plans today to leave the company’s board, severing the final ties to a business he founded nearly 30 years ago.

Lazaridis had served as co-CEO until January 2012, when he and Jim Balsillie were replaced by Thorsten Heins — following years of losing ground to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices.

But Lazaridis reiterated that he’s leaving on his own terms. He made the decision to pass the reins to new management, Lazaridis said today in an interview. In fact, after he opted to step down last year, the board urged him to reconsider the move, he said.

“In January 2012, when I went to RIM’s board and asked that they implement my succession plan and promote Thorsten as CEO, I was asked to reconsider my decision to give up the CEO post,” he said.

After Lazaridis gave up the CEO job, he pledged to help his successor roll out the new BlackBerry 10 platform and its flagship Z10 smartphone.

“With the launch of BB10 and the Z10 around the world, I believe I’ve fulfilled my commitment to the board,” he said.

Lazaridis will leave BlackBerry in May to devote himself full-time to research into physics and quantum computing. He’s also bankrolled a $100 million fund to help commercialize quantum technologies.

The 52-year-old said he has had a long run at BlackBerry and is looking forward to the change.

“I’ve been there for more than 29 years, it’s quite a career,” he said. “It’s now time to move on to my next venture.”

What do you think about this article? Comment below!