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Mike Lazaridis is an entrepreneur, business executive, philanthropist, he was born 14th March 1961 in Istanbul, Turkey. Mihal Lazaridis is an entrepreneur, business executive, and philanthropist. Lazaridis studied electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo, wherein 1984 he formed Research In Motion or RIM, the wireless technology firm that revolutionized the communications industry with the development of the BlackBerry.Early Life Mike Lazaridis came to Canada with his parents at age 5 and was raised in Windsor, ON. Lazaridis loved science since childhood and was always fascinated by how things worked. At the age of 12, he won an award for reading every science book in the Windsor Library. In high school, Lazaridis took science courses to be suitable for university but also enrolled in shop courses that allowed him to tinker.
Research in Motion In 1979, Mike enrolled at the University of Waterloo with his friend Doug Fregin, Mike founded Research in Motion (RIM), which was established as an electronics and computer science consulting business that later would focus on developing technology for the wireless transmission of data, such as email and text messages, and establishing wireless point-of-sale customer terminals. They were soon joined by their fellow student Michael Barnstijn. In 1986, while the young men were still students, RIM was awarded a $600,000 contract by General Motors. In 1992, Mike Lazaridis was joined by Jim Balsillie as co-CEO. The blending of Lazaridis’s technical vision and Balsillie’s business acumen saw RIM expand from a small company with roughly 10 employees in 1992 to an international corporation worth in excess of $68 billion at the end of 2007. This success was largely due to the development of BlackBerry, launched in 1999.
However, by 2007, the industry was moving forward, led by Apple and the iPhone it introduced that year. RIM continued to grow, reaching nearly $20 billion in sales during fiscal 2011, but only reluctantly incorporated new trends, such as a camera or MP3 player, in its smartphone. By the end of 2011, iPhones and Android phones had become more popular than Blackberry in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and close to 60% of RIM’s sales came from other countries. RIM’s growth began to slow and new consumers in emerging markets were purchasing lower-end devices. Complicating RIM’s changing market was a major service disruption in October 2011, the fifth in five years. Despite the announcement of a new line of “superphones” to come in 2012, RIM suffered a drop in its stock prices of nearly 55%.
Shareholders called for change, particularly in the company’s leadership. After a few months of pressure, the executive shakeup was announced publicly on 22 January 2012. Balsillie and Lazaridis were replaced as co-CEOs by chief operating officer Thorsten Heins and their shared role as board chairman was assumed by Barbara Stymiest. Lazaridis assumed the new title of vice-chair of the board and chair of the board’s new innovation committee, while Balsillie stayed on as a member of the board of directors until he resigned on 29 March 2012.
A year later, on 28 March 2013, Lazaridis announced his retirement from the company he had founded three decades earlier. He would, however, continue his involvement with the computing industry, establishing (with Fregin) the Quantum Valley Investments Fund that supports quantum computing ventures.
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