Mike Lazaridis

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Mike Lazaridis
Mr Mike Lazaridis OC FRS.jpg
Mike Lazaridis portrait via the Royal Society
Born Μιχάλης Λαζαρίδης
(1961-03-14) March 14, 1961 (age 54)
Istanbul, Turkey
Residence Bamberg, Ontario, Canada
Alma mater University of Waterloo (dropped out in 1984, honorary degree in 2000)
Occupation Vice Chairman, BlackBerry
Known for
Net worth Decrease US$700 million (2014)[2]
Website www.forbes.com/profile/mike-lazaridis

Mihal "Mike" Lazaridis, OC, O.Ont, FRS (Greek: Μιχαήλ (Μιχάλης) Λαζαρίδης; born March 14, 1961) is a Greek - Canadian businessman, investor in quantum computing technologies, and founder and Vice Chairman of BlackBerry, which created and manufactures the BlackBerry wireless handheld device. As a passionate advocate for the power of basic science to improve and transform the world[citation needed], he co-founded Quantum Valley Investments in March 2013 with childhood friend and BlackBerry co-founder Douglas Fregin to provide financial and intellectual capital for the further development and commercialization of breakthroughs in quantum information science.[3] In 1999 he founded Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where he also serves as Board Chair.[4] He is also a former chancellor of the University of Waterloo, and an Officer of the Order of Canada. With an estimated net worth of $US 800 million (as of June 2011), Lazaridis was ranked by Forbes as the 17th wealthiest Canadian and 651st in the world.[5]

Personal, education, and career history[edit]

Lazaridis was born in Istanbul, Turkey, to Greek parents (specifically Pontic) with original lineage to the island of Chios. He was five years old when his family moved to Canada in 1966, settling in Windsor, Ontario.[6] At age 12, he won a prize at the Windsor Public Library for reading every science book in the library.[7] In 1979, he enrolled at the University of Waterloo in electrical engineering with an option in computer science. In 1984, Lazaridis responded to a request for proposal from General Motors to develop a network computer control display system.[8] GM awarded him a contract. He dropped out of university that year, just two months before he was scheduled to graduate. The GM contract, a small government grant, and a loan from Lazaridis's parents enabled Lazaridis, Mike Barnstijn, and Douglas Fregin to launch Research In Motion. One of the company's first achievements was the development of barcode technology for film. RIM plowed the profits from that into wireless data transmission research, eventually leading to the introduction of the BlackBerry wireless mobile device in 1999, and its better-known version in 2002.

Lazaridis and his wife Ophelia have also been noted for their philanthropic work in the Waterloo area.


In 2000, Lazaridis founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He has donated more than $170 million to the institute.[9][10]

In 2002, Lazaridis founded the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo. He has donated more than $100 million to IQC.[citation needed]

In 2015, Lazaridis donated $20 million to Wilfrid Laurier University's School of Business & Economics, renamed in his honour as the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]

On October 21, 1999, Lazaridis received an honorary doctor of engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, and in June 2003, he became its eighth chancellor. He was listed on Maclean's Honour Roll as a distinguished Canadian in 2000 and named Canada's Nation Builder of the Year for 2002 by readers of The Globe and Mail newspaper. In 2006, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of Ontario.[12] In 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[13] His nomination reads:

Lazaridis received an Academy Award and Emmy Award for technical achievements.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Mr Mike Lazaridis OC FRS
  2. ^ Babad, Michael (June 23, 2011). "Profile of Mike Lazaridis". Toronto: Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  3. ^ Quantum Valley | Media Centre. Quantum Valley Investments (2013-03-19). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  4. ^ Perimeter Institute Website
  5. ^ Forbes http://www.forbes.com/wealth/billionaires/list?country=223&industry=-1&state=.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Spurgeon, D. (2001). "Pushing the physics envelope". Nature 414 (6862): 391. doi:10.1038/35106660. 
  7. ^ Article on Mihalis Lazaridis
  8. ^ Lazaridis, Mike, How I got started, The BlackBerry Boss, Fortune Magazine, April 27, 2009, p.20
  9. ^ Magueijo, J. O. (2009). "Howard's end at Perimeter". Nature 461 (7263): 477. doi:10.1038/461477a. 
  10. ^ Hand, E. (2009). "Physics: The edge of physics". Nature 461 (7263): 462–5. doi:10.1038/461462a. PMID 19779427. 
  11. ^ Lewington, Jennifer. "Wilfrid Laurier University names business school for Mike Lazaridis". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Order of Ontario appointments announced
  13. ^ "Perimeter Founder Elected to Royal Society". Perimeter Institute. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Anderssen, Erin (2002-12-27). "Mike Lazaridis, 2002". The Globe and Mail. 

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Company Founded 1984
BlackBerry Co-CEO (with Jim Balsillie)
Succeeded by
Thorsten Heins