Former RIM co-CEO Lazaridis says he planned to step down for years

Former Research In Motion co-CEO and co-Chairman Mike Lazaridis said in a recent interview that he had been planning to step down from his role at the helm of the company for several years. While speaking with The Record, Lazaridis confessed that he had been planning to relinquish his co-CEO role for several years leading up to January 22nd when RIM announced that Lazaridis and co-CEO Jim Balsillie were stepping down. Lazaridis said in the interview that he had been grooming new CEO Thorsten Heins for the CEO position since he was first hired in 2007, but the former chief did not explain why he waited so long to step down while RIM’s stock plummeted and investors clamored for new leadership. Though Lazaridis is no longer RIM’s top executive, he will continue to play an active role on the company’s board. He also said he plans to purchase an additional $50 million in RIM stock. “This company has a strong balance sheet of $1.5 billion,” Lazaridis said. “It has strong sales of over $5 billion a quarter. This is a strong organization with a strong global brand, an iconic product and a strong future.”

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