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Former BlackBerry CEO Mike Lazaridis to Leave Company

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Mar 28, 2013, 7:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry today announced during its quarterly earnings call that former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis would retire from his seat at the company's board of directors effective May 1. Lazaridis founded BlackBerry with Jim Balsillie, which was called Research In Motion during their leadership tenure. Both Lazaridis and Balsillie left their co-CEO roles in January 2012 and were replaced by now-CEO Thorsten Heins. "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." Lazaridis and Balsillie were often criticized for not recognizing the threat represented by the Apple iPhone, and later, Android smartphones. Sales of BlackBerry handsets fell rapidly during their last year as co-CEOs as consumers flocked to smartphones running Apple's and Google's operating systems instead. BlackBerry launched its brand new operating system, BlackBerry 10, earlier this year. The first BlackBerry 10 device, the Z10, reached AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all within the last week.

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