| TORONTO, March 28
TORONTO, March 28 BlackBerry co-founder
Mike Lazaridis said on Thursday he has no plans to sell his
stake in the smartphone maker even as he steps down from the
board to focus on a new quantum computing investment fund.
BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion, announced the
former co-CEO's departure from the board on Thursday as it
reported its first quarterly earnings since launching its
make-or-break new BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
"I'm really proud of what we built together at RIM, and I
believe I'm leaving it in good hands, and remain one of its
largest shareholders," said Lazaridis in an interview.
Asked whether he will hold on to that investment, Lazaridis
said he has no plans to do otherwise. He owns 5.7 percent of the
Waterloo, Ontario-based company, according to Thomson Reuters
data from Dec. 31, 2012.
Lazaridis, a silver-haired engineer who was born in Turkey,
immigrated to Canada with his Greek parents as a child, and
attended university in Waterloo, where he co-founded RIM in
Lazaridis also offered new details on his exit from the
executive suite - he and co-CEO Jim Balsillie stepped down in
January 2012, as the company bled market share to Apple Inc's
iPhone and phones based on Google Inc's
Android operating system, and its BlackBerry 10 ran behind
Lazaridis said he went to the board that month and asked
them to make Thorsten Heins chief executive.
"I was asked to reconsider my decision to give up the CEO
post, but I promised the board that I would assist Thorsten and
his team in the completion of the development of BB10," he said.
"I believe I've now fulfilled my commitment to the board."
Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, RIM's co-founder, announced their
new $100 million Quantum Valley Investments fund earlier this
Those who do time-consuming calculations have for years
longed for quantum computers, which could theoretically complete
tasks many orders of magnitude faster than a conventional
machine by tapping some peculiar properties of matter to do many
Lazaridis, a physics buff who used some of his fortune to
found the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in
Waterloo, said he sees the quantum computing field "producing
opportunities in the near-term." He said the fund has started
making investments, but gave no details.
"This is ground-breaking work," he said. "We have the
resources to put us in a position to help them fulfill the
potential of these breakthroughs."
(Writing by Allison Martell; Additional reporting by Alastair
Sharp; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Gunna Dickson)